Skip to main content

Full text of "The slang dictionary; etymological, historical and anecdotal"

See other formats


the Rev. E. C. BREWER, LL.U. Crown 8vo, cloth, 
35 6d net. 

Realistic, and Dogmatic. By the Rev. E. C. 
BREWER, LL.D. Crown 8vo, cloth, 35 6d net. 

of Curious, Quaint, and Odd Matters. By ELIKZBK 
EDWARDS. Crown 8vo, cloth, 35 6d. 

with Historical and Explanatory Notes. By 
SAMUEL A. BENT, A.M. Crown 8vo, cloth, 75 6d. 

CHARLES J. WHEELER. Demy 8vo, cloth, 75 6d 

THE SLANG DICTIONARY: Etymological, His- 
torical, and Anecdotal. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s 6d. 


DAVENPORT ADAMS. Vol. I A to G). Demy 8vo, 
cloth, IDS 6d net. 

London : CHATTO 4 WINDUS, in St. Martin's I-ane,W.C. 









No good; too poor, and know too much. 

Stop, if you have what they want, they wfll buy. They are pretty "/5>* 


Go in this direction, it is better than the other road. Nothing that way. 

Bone (good). Safe for a "cold tatur," if for nothing else. "Cheese your 
patttr (don't talk much; here. 

Cooper'd (spoilt) by too many tramps calling there. 
Gammy (unfavourable), likely to have you taken up. Mind the dog. 
Flummuxed (dangerous), sure of a month in "quod," prison. 
Beliglous, but tidy on the whole. 






THE \var>GE" 





OLANG, like everything else, changes much in the 
course of time ; and though but fifteen years 
have elapsed since this Dictionary was first introduced 
to the public, alterations have since then been many and 
frequent in the subject of which it treats. The first issue 
of a work of this kind is, too, ever beset with difficulties, 
and the compiler was always aware that, though 
under the circumstances of its production the book 
was an undoubted success, it necessarily lacked many 
of the elements which would make that success lasting, 
and cause the " Slang Dictionary" to be regarded as an 
authority and a work of reference not merely among 
the uneducated, but among people of cultivated tastes 
and inquiring minds. For though the vulgar use of 
the word Slang applies to those words only which are 
used by the dangerous classes and the lowest grades of 
society, the term has in reality, and should have as 
every one who has ever studied the subject knows 
a much wider significance. Bearing this in mind, the 
original publisher of this Dictionary lost no opportunity 


of obtaining information of a useful kind, which could 
hardly find place in any other book of reference, with 
the intention of eventually bringing out an entirely new 
edition, in which all former errors should be corrected 
and all fresh meanings and new words find a place. 
His intention always was to give those words which 
are familiar to all conversant with our colloquialisms 
and locutions, but which have hitherto been connected 
with an unwritten tongue, a local habitation, and to 
produce a book which, in its way, would be as useful to 
students of philology, as well as to lovers of human 
nature in all its phases, as any standard work in the 
English language. The squeamishness which tries to 
ignore the existence of slang fails signally, for not only 
in the streets and the prisons, but at the bar, on the 
bench, in the pulpit, and in the Houses of Parliament, 
does slang make itsell heard, and, as the shortest and 
safest means to an end, understood too. 

My predecessor, the original compiler, did not live to 
see his wish become an actual fact ; and, failing him, 
it devolved upon me to undertake the task of revision 
and addition. How far this has been accomplished, 
the curious reader who is possessed of a copy of each 
edition can best judge for himself by comparing any 
couple of pages he may select. Of my own share in 
the work I wish to say nothing, as I have mainly 
benefited bv the labours of others ; but I may say 


that, when I undertook the position of editor of what, 
with the smallest possible stretch of fancy, may now be 
called a new book, I had no idea that the alteration 
would be nearly so large or so manifest. However, as 
the work is now done, it will best speak for itself, 
and, as good wine needs no bush, I will leave it, in all 
hope of their tenderness, to those readers who are best 
qualified to say how the task has been consummated. 

In conclusion, it is but fair for me to thank, as 
strongly as weak words will permit, those gentlemen 
who have in various ways assisted me. To two of 
them, who are well known in the world of literature, 
and who have not only aided me with advice, but have 
placed many new words and etymologies at my service, 
I am under particular obligation. With this I beg to 
subscribe myself, the reader's most obedient servant^ 


December 20, 1873. 

NOTE. The reader will bear in mind that this is a Dictionary of modern 
Slang, a list of colloquial words and phrases in present use, whether of 
ancient or modern formation. Whenever Ancient is appended to a word, 
it means that the expression was in respectable use in or previous to the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth. Old or Old English, affixed to a word, signifies 
that it was in general use as a proper expression in or previous to the reign 
of Charles II. Old Cant indicates that the term was in use as a Cant 
wbrd during or before the same reign. 

The Publishers will be much obliged by the receipt of any cant, slang, at 
vulgar words not mentioned in the Dictionary. The probable origin, or 
etymology, of any fashionable or unfashionable vulgarism, will also bt 
nceived with thanks. 














m AQ ridiculous words make their first entry into a language oy/amilia rfhrtatt ; I 
litre net tumetr for these that they will not in time be looked upon as apart oj ** 
ttnfut. "SPECTATOR. 

" Rabble-chartnit>e words, vihich carry to much wild Jire wrapt up in them."-' 

"Slang derivations an generally indirect, turning upon metaphor and fanciful 
allusions, and other than direct etymological connexion. Such allusions and fanciet 
are essentially temporary or local; they rapidly pass out of the public mind: the word 
remains, -while the key to its origin is lost." 

"Many of these \slang\ words and phrases are but serving their apprentictthip, and 
will eventually become tit* active strength of our language." H. T. BUCKLE. 




CANT and SLANG are universal and world-wide. By their 
means is often said in a sentence what would other- 
wise take an hour to express. Nearly every nation on 
the face of the globe, polite and barbarous, has its divi- 
sions and subdivisions of various ranks of society. These 
are necessarily of many kinds, stationary and wandering, 
civilized and uncivilized, respectable and disreputable, 
those who have fixed abodes and avail themselves of the 
refinements of civilization, and those who go from place 
to place picking up a precarious livelihood by petty sales, 
begging, or theft. This peculiarity is to be observed amongst 
the heathen tribes of the southern hemisphere, as well 
as in the oldest and most refined countries of Europe. In 
South Africa, the naked and miserable Hottentots are pestered 
by the still more abject Sonquas ; and it may be some satis- 
faction for us to know that our old enemies at the Cape, the 
Kaffirs, are troubled with a tribe of rascals called Fingoes, 
the former term, we are informed by travellers, signifying 
beggars, and the latter wanderers and outcasts. In South 
America, and among the islands of the Pacific, matters are 
pretty much the same. Sleek rascals, without much inclination 
towards honesty, fatten, or rather fasten, like the insects in the 
famous epigram, upon other rascals, who would be equally 
sleek and fat but for their vagabond dependents. Luckily 
for respectable persons, however, vagabonds, both at home 


and abroad, generally show certain outward peculiarities which 
distinguish them from the great mass of law-abiding people 
on whom they subsist. Observation shows that the wandering 
races are remarkable for an abnormal development of the 
bones of the face, as the jaws, cheek-bones, &<x, for high- 
crowned, stubborn-shaped heads, quick, restless eyes,* and 
hands nervously itching to be doing ; for their love of gam- 
bling ; for sensuality of all kinds ; and for their use of a CANT 
language with which to conceal their designs and plunderings. 

The secret jargon, or rude speech, of the vagabonds who 
hang upon the Hottentots is termed Cuze-cat. In Finland, the 
fellows who steal seal-skins, pick the pockets of bear-skin over- 
coats, and talk cant, are termed Lappes. In France, the secret 
language of highwaymen, housebreakers, and pickpockets, is 
named Argot The brigands and more romantic rascals of 
Spain term their private tongue Germania,f or Robbers' Lan- 
guage. Rothwalsch,: or foreign-beggar-talk, is synonymous with 
cant and thieves' talk in Germany. The vulgar dialect of Malta, 
and the Scala towns of the Levant imported into this country 
and incorporated with English cant is known as the Lingua 
Franca, or bastard Italian. And the crowds of lazy beggars 
that infest the streets of Naples and Rome, as well as the bri- 
gands of Pompeii, use a secret language termed Gergo. In Eng- 
land, as we all know, it is called Cant often improperly Slang. 

Most nations, then, possess each a tongue, or series of tongues 
maybe, each based on the national language, by which not only 
thieves, beggars, and other outcasts communicate, but which is 
used more or less by all classes. There is hardly any com- 
munity in this country, hardly any profession, but has its slang, 

* " Swarms of vagabonds, whose eyes were so sharp as Lynx." 
Bullein's Simples and Surgery, 1562. 

+ Probably from the Gipsies, who were supposed to come from Ger- 
many into Spain. 

+ From Roter, beggar, vagabond, and walscA, foreign. See Dictionary 
of Gipsy language in Pott's Zigeuner in Europa und Asien, vol. ii., Halle, 
1844. The Italian cant is called Fourbesque, and the Portuguese Calao. 
See Francisque-Michel, Dictionnaire d* Argot, Paris, 1856. 


and proficiency in this is the greatest desideratum of an aspirant 
to the pleasures of Society, or the honours of literature and 
art. The formation of these secret tongues varies, of course, 
with the circumstances surrounding the speakers. A writer in 
Notes and Queries has well remarked that "the investigation of 
the origin and principles of cant and slang language opens a 
curious field of inquiry, replete with considerable interest to the 
philologist and the philosopher. It affords a remarkable in- 
stance of lingual contrivance, which, without the introduction of 
much arbitrary matter, has developed a system of communi- 
cating ideas, having all the advantages of a foreign language." 
" The terms Cant and Canting were probably derived from 
chaunt and chaunting, the whining tone, or modulation of voice 
adopted by beggars, with intent to coax, wheedle, or cajole by 
pretensions of wretchedness."* 'For the origin of the other 
application of the word Cant, pulpit hypocrisy, we are indebted 
to the Spectator " Cant is by some people derived from one 
Andrew Cant, who, they say, was a Presbyterian minister in 
some illiterate part of Scotland, who, by exercise and use, had 
obtained the faculty, alias gift, of talking in the pulpit in such 
a dialect that 'tis said he was understood by none but his own 
congregation, and not by all of them. Since Master Cant's 
time it has been understood in a larger sense, and signifies all 
exclamations, whinings, unusual tones, and, in fine, all praying 
and preaching like the unlearned of the Presbyterians." This 
anecdote is curious, though it is but fair to assume that the 
preacher's name was taken from his practice, rather than that 
the practice was called after the preacher. As far as we are 
concerned, however, in the present inquiry, Cant was derived 
from chaunt, a beggar's whine ; " chaunting" being the recog- 
nised term amongst beggars to this day for begging orations 
and street whinings ; and " chaunter," a street talker and 
tramp, is still the term used by strollers and patterers. This 

Richardson's Dictionary. 


race is, however, nearly obsolete. The use of the word Cant, 
amongst beggars, must certainly have commenced at a very 
early date, for we find " To cante, to speake," in Harman's list 
of Rogues' Words in the year 1566; and Harrison about the 
same time,* in speaking of beggars and Gipsies, says, " they 
have devised a language among themselves which they name 
Canting, but others Pedlars' Frenche." 

Now, the word Cant in its old sense, and Slangf in its 
modern application, although used by good writers and persons 
of education as synonyms, are in reality quite distinct and 
separate terms. Cant, apart from religious hypocrisy, refers to 
the old secret language of Gipsies, thieves, tramps, and beggars. 
Slang represents that evanescent language, ever changing with 
fashion and taste, which has principally come into vogue 
during the last seventy or eighty years, spoken by persons in 
every grade of life, rich and poor, honest and dishonest J 
Cant is old ; Slang is always modern and ever changing. To 
illustrate the difference : a thief in Cant language would term a 
horse a " prancer" or a " prad ;" while in Slang, a man of fashion 
would speak of it as a " bit of blood," a " spanker," or a " neat 
tit" A handkerchief, too, would be a " billy," a " fogle," or a 
" Kent rag," in the secret language of low characters ; whilst 
amongst the modern folk who affect Slang, it would be called 
a " stock," a " wipe," a " fogle," or a " clout" Cant was formed 
for purposes of secrecy. Slang, though it has a tendency the 
same way, is still often indulged in from a mild desire to appear 
familiar with life, gaiety, town-humour, and the transient nick- 

* Description of England, prefixed to Holinshed's Chronicle. 

f The word Slang, as will be seen in the chapter upon that subject, is 
purely a Gipsy term, although nowadays it refers to low or vulgar language 
of any kind, other than cant. Slang and Gibberish in the Gipsy language 
are synonymous ; but, as English adoptions, have meanings very different 
from that given to them in their original. 

" The vulgar tongue consists of two parts ; the first is the Cant 
language ; the second, those burlesque phrases, quaint allusions, and nick- 
names for persons, things, and places, which, from long uninterrupted 
usage, are made classical by prescriptiob." Grt*e's Dictionary of the Vulgar 
Tottguf, 1st edition 1785. 


names and street jokes of the day. Both Cant and Slang, we 
have before said, are often huddled together as synonyms ; 
but they are most certainly distinct, and as such should be 

To the Gipsies, beggars and thieves are in great measure 
indebted for their Cant language. It is supposed that the 
Gipsies originally landed in this country early in the reign of 
Henry VIII. They were at first treated as conjurors and 
magicians, indeed, they were hailed by the populace with as 
much applause as a company of English performers usually 
receives on arriving in a distant colony. They came here with 
all their old Eastern arts of palmistry and second-sight, with 
their factitious power of doubling money by incantation and 
burial, shreds of pagan idolatry; and they brought with them, 
also, the dishonesty of the lower-caste Orientals, and the 
nomadic tastes they had acquired through centuries of wander- 
ing over nearly the whole of the then known globe. They 
possessed also a language quite distinct from anything that had 
been heard in England up till their advent ; they claimed the 
title of Egyptians, and as such, when their thievish propensities 
became a public nuisance, were cautioned and proscribed in a 
royal proclamation by Henry VIII.* The Gipsies were not 
long in the country before they found native imitators ; and 
indeed the imitation is much more frequently found nowadays, 
in the ranks of the so-called Gipsies, than is the genuine article. 
Vagabondism is peculiarly catching, and the idle, the vagrant, 
and the criminal soon caught the idea from the Gipsies, and 
learned from them to tramp, sleep under hedges and trees, tell 
fortunes, and find lost property for a consideration frequently, 
as the saying runs, having found it themselves before it was 
lost They also learned the value and application of a secret 
tongue indeed, with the Gipsies came in all the accompani- 
ments of maunding and imposture, except thieving and begging, 

"Outlandish people calling themselves Egyptians." 15301 


which were well known in this country, and perhaps in ev< 
other, long before visitors had an opportunity of teachi 

Harman, in 1566, wrote a singular, not to say droll, boi 
entitled, A Caveat for commen Cvrsetors, vulgarly called Va 
bones, newly augmented and inlarged, wherein the history a 
various descriptions of rogues and vagabonds are given, togei 
with their canting tongue. This book, the earliest of the ki; 
gives the singular fact that within a dozen years after the land 
of the Gipsies, companies of English vagrants were form 
places of meeting appointed, districts for plunder and begg 
operations marked out, and rules agreed to for their comrr 
management In some cases Gipsies joined the English gan 
in others, English vagrants joined the Gipsies. The fellows 
was found convenient and profitable, as both parties were ali 
to the laws and customs of the country, living in a great rr 
sure in the open air, apart from the lawful public, and of 
meeting each other on the same by-path, or in the same red 
valley; but seldom intermarrying or entirely adopting e 
other's habits. The common people, too, soon began to c 
sider them as of one family, all rogues, and from Egypt 1 
superstition must have been very firmly imbedded, for it is i 
current. The secret language spoken by the Gipsies, princip 
Hindoo, and extremely barbarous to English ears, was foi 
incomprehensible and very difficult to learn. The Gip 
naturally found a similar difficulty with the English languj 
A rude, rough, and singular, but under the circumstances 
unnatural, compromise was made, and a mixture of Gipsy, 
English, newly-coined words, and cribbings from any fore 
and therefore secret, language, mixed and jumbled togeti 
formed what has ever since been known as the Canting I 
guage, or Pedlar's French ; or, during the past century, 
Giles's Greek. 

Such was the origin of Cant; and in illustration of 
blending with the Gipsy or Cingari tongue, we are enables 


give the accompanying list of Gipsy, and often Hindoo, words, 
with, in many instances, their English representatives : 


Bamboozle, to perplex or mis- 
lead by hiding. Modern Gipsy. 

Bosh., rubbish, nonsense, offal. 
Gipsy and Persian. 

Cheese, thing or article, " That's 
the CHEESE, or thing. Gipsy and 

Chive, the tongue. Gipsy. 

Cuta, a gold coin. Danubian 


Dado, or DADI, a father. Gipsy. 
Distarabin, a prison. Gipsy. 
Gad, or GADSI, a wife. Gipsy. 

Gibberish, the language of Gip- 
sies, synonymous with SLANG. 
Gipsy. *^_^ 

Ischur, SCHUR, or CHUR, a thief" 
Gipsy and Hindoo. 

Lab, a word. Gipsy. 

Lowe, or LOWR, money. Gipsy 
and Wallachian. 

Mami, a grandmother. Gipsy. 

Mang, or MAUNG, to beg. Gipsy 

and Hindoo. 
Mort, a free woman, one for 

common use amongst the male 

Gipsies, so appointed by Gipsy 

custom. Gipsy. 
Mu, the mouth. Gipsy and Hindoo. 


Bamboozle, to delude, cheat, or 

make a fool of any one. 
Bosh, stupidity, foolishness. 

Cheese, or CHEESY, a first-rate or 
very good article. 

Chive, or CHIVEY, a shout. To 
CHIVEY, to hunt down with shouts. 

Couter, a sovereign, twenty shil- 

Daddy, nursery term for father. (*) 

Sturabin, a prison. 

Gad, a female scold ; a woman who 
tramps over the country with a 
beggar or hawker. 

Gibberish, rapid and unmeaning 

Cur, a mean or dishonest man.(*) 

Lobs, words. 

Lowre, money. Ancient Cant. 

Mammy, or MAMMA, a mother, 
formerly sometimes used for 
grandmother. (*) 

Maund, to beg. 

Mot, a prostitute. 

Moo, or MUN, the mouth. 

* In those instances indicated by a (*), it is doubtful whether we are 
Indebted to the Gipsies for the terms. Dad, in Welsh, also signifies a 
father. Cur is stated to be a mere term of reproach, like Dog, which 
in all European languages has been applied in an abusive sense. Objec- 
tions may also be raised against Gad, Maund, and many other of these 
parallels. We have, however, no wish to present them as infallible ; our 
idea is merely to call the reader's attention to the undoubted similarity 
between both the sound and the sense in most examples. 


Gipsy. English. 

Mull, to spoil or destroy. Gipsy. Mull, to spoil, or bungle. (*) 

Pal, a brother. Gipsy. Pal, a partner, or relation. 

Pane, water. Gipsy. Hindoo, Parney, rain. 


Rig, a performance. Gipsy. Rig, a frolic, or "spree." 

Romany, speech or language. Romany, the Gipsy language. 

Spanish Gipsy. 

Rome, or ROMM, a man. Gipsy Rum, a good man, or thing. In the 

and Coptic. Robbers' language of Spain (partly 

Gipsy), RUM signifies a harlot. 

Romee, a woman. Gipsy. Rumy, a good woman or girl. 

Slang, the language spoken by Slang, low, vulgar, unauthorized 

Gipsies. Gipsy. language. 

Tawno, little. Gipsy. Tanny, TEENY, little. 

Tsohib, or JIBB, the tongue. Jibb, the tongue; JABBER,* quick- 

Gipsy and Hindoo. tougued, or fast talk. 

Here, then, we have the remarkable fact of at least a few 
words of pure Gipsy origin going the round of Europe, passing 
into this country before the Reformation, and coming down to 
us through numerous generations purely by the mouths of the 
people. They have seldom been written or used in books, 
and it is simply as vulgarisms that they have reached us. Only 
a few are now Cant, and some are household words. The 
word jockey, as applied to a dealer or rider of horses, came 
from the Gipsy, and means in that language a whip. The 
word, used as a verb, is an instance of modern slang grown 
out of the ancient. Our standard dictionaries give, of course, 
none but conjectural etymologies. Another word, bamboozle, 
has been a sore difficulty with lexicographers. It is not in the 
old dictionaries, although it is extensively used in familiar or 
popular language for the last two centuries ; and is, in fact, the 
very kind of word that such writers as Swift, Butler, L'Estrange, 
and Arbuthnot would pick out at once as a telling and most 
serviceable term. It is, as we have seen, from the Gipsy ; and 
acre we must state that it was Boucher who first drew attention 

* Jabber may be, after all, only another form of GABBER, GAB, very 
common in Old English, from the Anglo-Saxon, G/EBBAN. 


to the fact, although in his remarks on the dusky tongue he 
has made an evident mistake by concluding it to be identical 
with its offspring, Cant. Other parallel instances, with but 
slight variations from the old Gipsy meanings, might be men- 
tioned ; but sufficient examples have been adduced to show 
that Marsden, a great Oriental scholar in the last century, 
when he declared before the Society of Antiquaries that the 
Cant of English thieves and beggars had nothing to do with 
the language spoken by the despised Gipsies, was in error. 
Had the Gipsy tongue been analysed and committed to writing 
three centuries ago, there is every probability that many scores 
of words now in common use could be at once traced to its 
source, having been adopted as our language has developed 
towards its present shape through many varied paths. Instances 
continually occur nowadays of street vulgarisms ascending to 
the drawing-rooms of respectable society. Who, then, can 
doubt that the Gipsy-vagabond alliance of three centuries ago 
has contributed its quota of common words to populai 
speech ? 

Thomas Moore, in a humorous little book, Tom Crib's 
Memorial to Congress, 1819, says, "The Gipsy language, with 
the exception of such terms as relate to their own peculiar 
customs, differs but little from the regular Flash or Cant lan- 
guage." But this was magnifying the importance of the 
alliance. Moore, we should think, knew nothing of the Gipsy 
tongue other than the few Cant words put into the mouths of 
the beggars in Beaumont and Fletcher's Comedy of the Beggar's 
Bush, and Ben Jonson's Masque of the Gipsies Metamorphosed, 
hence his confounding Cant with Gipsy speech, and appealing 
to the Glossary of Cant for so-called " Gipsy " words at the end 
of the Life of Bamfylde Moore Carcw. to bear him out in his 
assertion. Still his remark bears much truth, and proof of this 
would have been found long ago if any scholar had taken the 
trouble to examine the "barbarous jargon of Cant," and to 
have compared it with Gipsy speech. George Borrow, in his 

C 2 



Account of the Gipsies in Spain, thus eloquently concludes his 
second volume ; speaking of the connexion of the Gipsies with 
Europeans, he says : " Yet from this temporary association 
were produced two results ; European fraud became sharpened 
by coming into contact with Asiatic craft ; whilst European 
tongues, by imperceptible degrees, became recruited with various 
words (some of them wonderfully expressive), many of which 
have long been stumbling-blocks to the philologist, who, whilst 
stigmatizing them as words of mere vulgar invention, or of 
unknown origin, has been far from dreaming that a little more 
research or reflection would have proved their affinity to the 
Sclavonic, Persian, or Romaic, or perhaps to the mysterious 
object of his veneration, the Sanscrit, the sacred tongue of the 
palm-covered regions of Ind ; words originally introduced into 
Europe by objects too miserable to occupy for a moment his 
lettered attention the despised denizens of the tents of 
Roma." These words might with very little alteration be 
ascribed to the subject of which this volume is supposed 
indeed hoped to be a handbook. 

But the Gipsies, their speech, their character bad enough, 
as all the world testifies, but yet not devoid of redeeming 
qualities their history, and their religious belief, have been 
totally disregarded, and their poor persons buffeted and jostled 
about until it is a wonder that any trace of origin or national 
speech remains. On the Continent they received better atten- 
tion at the hands of learned men. Their language was taken 
down in writing and examined, their history was traced, and 
their extraordinary customs and practice of living in the open 
air, and eating raw, and often putrid meat, were explained. 
They ate reptiles and told fortunes because they had learnt to 
do so through their forefathers centuries back in Hindostan ; 
and they devoured carrion because the Hindoo proverb 
" That which God kills is better than that killed by man "* was 

* This very proverb was mentioned by a young Gipsy to Crabb, some 
years ago. Gipsies' Advocate, p, 14. 


still in their remembrance. This is the sort of proverb, we 
should imagine, that would hardly commend itself to any one 
R'ho had not an unnatural and ghoule-like tendency anxious for 
full development. Grellman, a learned German, was their 
principal historian, and to him, and those who have followed 
him, we are almost entirely indebted for the little we know of 
their language. The first European settlement of the Gipsies 
was in the provinces adjoining the Danube, Moldau and 
TheisS, where M. Cogalniceano, in his Essai sur les Cigains de 
la Moldo- Valachie, estimates them at 200,000. Not a few of 
our ancient and modern Cant and Slang terms are Wallachian 
and Greek words, picked up by these wanderers from the East, 
and added to their common stock. 

Gipsy, then, started, and was partially merged into Cant; 
and the old story told by Harrison and others, that the first in- 
ventor of canting was hanged for his pains, would seem to be a 
humorous invention, for jargon as it is, it was doubtless of 
gradual formation, like all other languages or systems of speech. 
Most of the modern Gipsies know the old Cant words as well 
as their own tongue or rather what remains of it As Borrow 
says, " The dialect of the English Gipsies is mixed with 
English words."* Those of the tribe who frequent fairs, and 
mix with English tramps, readily learn the new words, as they 
are adopted by what Harman calls "the fraternity of vaga- 
bonds." Indeed, the old Cant is a common language to 
the vagrants of many descriptions and every possible origin 
who are scattered over the British Isles. 

English Cant has its mutabilities like every other system of 
speech, and is considerably altered since the first dictionary was 
compiled by Harman in 1566. A great many words are un- 
known in the present tramps' and thieves' vernacular. Some of 
them, however, still bear their old definitions, while others 
have adopted fresh meanings. " Abraham-man" is yet seen in 

* Gipsits in Spain, vol. i. p. iS. 


our modern " sham Abraham," or " play the old soldier"/.*., 
to feign sickness or distress. "Autum" is still a church or 
chapel amongst Gipsies; and "beck," a constable, is our 
modern Cant and Slang " beak," once a policeman, but now a 
magistrate. " Bene," or " bone," stands for good in Seven Dials 
and the back streets of Westminster; and "bowse" is our 
modern " booze," to drink or fuddle. A " bowsing ken" was the 
old Cant term for a public-house ; and " boozing ken," in modem 
Cant, has precisely the same meaning. There is little doubt, 
though, that the pronunciations were always as they are now, so 
far at least as these two instances are concerned. " Cassan" 
is both old and modern Cant for cheese ; the same may be said 
of" chattes," or " chatts," the gallows. " Cofe," or " cove," is still 
a vulgar synonym for a man. " Dudes" was Cant for clothes ; 
we now say " duds." " Flag" is still a fourpenny-piece ; and 
" fylche" means to rob. " Ken" is a house, and " lick" 
means to thrash ; " prancer" is yet known amongst rogues as 
a horse; and to "prig," amongst high and low, is to steal. 
Three centuries ago, if one beggar said anything disagreeable to 
another, the person annoyed would say, " Stow you," or hold 
your peace ; low people now say, " Stow it," equivalent to " Be 
quiet" There is, so far as the Slang goes, no actual difference in 
the use of these phrases, the variation being in the pronouns 
in fact, in the direction. " Trine" is still to hang ; " wyn" 
yet stands for a penny. And many other words, as will be seen 
in the Dictionary, still retain their ancient meaning. 

As specimens of those words which have altered their orfginal 
Cant signification, may be instanced " chete," now written cheat 
"Chete" was in ancient Cant what chop is in the Canton-Chinese 
an almost inseparable adjunct. Everything was termed a 
" chete," and qualified by a substantive-adjective, which showed 
what kind of a "chete" was meant; for instance, "crashing- 
chetes" were teeth; a " moffling-chete," was a napkin; a 
" topping-chete," was the gallows, and a " grunting-chete," was 
a pig. Cheat nowadays means to cozen or defraud, and lexi- 


cographers have tortured etymology for an original but without 
success. Escheats and escheatours have been named, but with 
great doubts ; indeed, Stevens, the learned commentator on 
Shakspeare, acknowledged that he " did not recollect to have 
met with the word cheat in our ancient writers."* Cheat, 
to defraud, then, is no other than an old Cant term somewhat 
altered in its meaning,! and as such it should be described in 
the next etymological dictionary. Another instance of a 
change in the meaning of the old Cant, but the retention of 
the word, is seen in " cly," formerly to take or steal, now a 
pocket ; and with the remembrance of a certain class of low 
characters, a curious connexion between the two meanings is 
discovered. " Make" was i halfpenny : we now say " mag," 
" make" being modern Cant for getting money by any possible 
means, their apophthegm being " Get money the best way you 
can, but make it somehow." " Milling" stood for stealing ; it ulti- 
mately became a pugilistic term, and then faded into nothing- 
ness, " the cove wot loves a mill," being a thing of the past. 
"Nab" was a head, low people now say "nob," the former 
meaning, in modern Cant, to steal or seize. J Pek" was meat, 
we still say " peckish," when hungry. " Peckish" is though 
more likely to be derived from the action of birds when eating, 
as all slang has its origin in metaphor. "Prygges, dronken 
Tinkers or beastly people," as old Harman wrote, would scarcely 
be understood now ; a "prig," in the iQth century, is a pick- 
pocket or thief. He is also a mean, contemptible little 
" cuss," who is net, as a rule, found in low life, but who 
could be very well spared from that of the middle and upper 
classes. " Quier," or " queer," like cheat, was a very common 
prefix, and meant bad or wicked, it now means odd, curious, 
or strange ; but to the ancient Cant we are possibly indebted 

* Shaks. Henry IV., part ii. act ii. scene 4. 

t It is but fair to imagine that cheat ultimately became synonymous with 
" fraud," when we remember that it was one of the most common words of 
file greatest class of impostors in the country. 


for the word, which etymologists should remember.* " Rome," 
or " rum," formerly meant good, or of the first quality, and was 
extensively used like cheat and queer, indeed as an adjective 
it was the opposite of the latter. " Rum" now means curious, 
and is synonymous with queer; thus, "rummy old bloke," or 
a " queei old man." Here again we see the origin of an 
every-day word, scouted by lexicographers and snubbed by 
respectable persons, but still a word of frequent and popular 
use. " Yannam " meant bread ; " pannum" is the word now. 
Other instances could be pointed out, but they will be observed 
in the Dictionary. 

Several words are entirely obsolete. " Alybbeg" no longer 
means a bed, nor " askew" a cup. " Booget,"f nowadays, 
would not be understood for a basket ; neither would " gan" 
pass current for mouth. " Fullams" was the old Cant term 
for false or loaded dice, and although used by Shakspeare in 
this sense, is now unknown and obsolete. Indeed, as Moore 
Bomewhere remarks, the present Greeks of St. Giles's them- 
selves would be thoroughly puzzled by many of the ancient 
canting songs, taking, for example, the first verse of an old 

" Bing out, bien Morts, and toure and toure^ 

Bing out, bien Morts, and toure ; 

For all your duds are bing'd awast ; 

The bien cove hath the loure." 

But perhaps we cannot do better than present to the reader 

* We are aware that more than one eminent philologist states that the 
origin of "queer" a seen in the German quer, crooked, -hence strange and 
abnormal. While agreeing with this etymology, we have reason to believe 
that the word was first used in this country in a Cant sense. 

t Booget properly signifies a leathern wallet, and is probably derived 
from the low Latin, BULGA A tinker's budget is from the same source 

J Which freely translated into modern Slang, might read-especially to 
those who know the manners and customs of the Dialites thus : 
' Good girls, go out, and look about, 

Good girls, go out and see ; 
For every clout is up the spout, 
The bloke's gone on the spree." 


at once an entire copy of the first Canting Dictionary ever 
compiled. As before mentioned, it was the work of one 
Thomas Harman, who lived in the days of Queen Elizabeth. 
Some writers have remarked that Decker* was the first to 
compile a dictionary of the vagabonds' tongue ; whilst Borrowf 
and Moore stated that Richard Head performed that service 
in his Life of an English Rogue, published in the year 1680. 
All these statements are equally incorrect, for the first attempt 
was made more than a century before the latter work was 
issued. The quaint spelling and old-fashioned phraseology are 
preserved, and the initiated will quickly recognise many vulgar 
street words as old acquaintances dressed in antique garb.| 

Abraham-men be those that fayn themselves to have beene mad, and 

have bene kept either in Bethelem, or in some other pryson a good 


Alybbeg, a bedde. 
Askew, acuppe. 
Autem, a churche. 

Autem mortes, married women as chaste as a cowe. 
Baudye baskets bee women who goe with baskets and capcases on 

their armes, wherein they have laces, pinnes, nedles, whyte inkel, and 

round sylke gyrdels of all colours. 
Beck [Beak, a magistrate], a constable. 
Belly-chete, apron. 
Bene, good. Benar, better. 
Benship, very good. 
Bleting chete, a calfe or sheepe. 
Booget, a travelling tinker's baskete. 
Borde, a shilling. 
Boung, a purse. [Fritsic, pong ; Wallachian, punga.] The oldest 

form of this word is in Ulphilas, puggs ; it exists also in the Greek, 

Bowse, drink. 

* Who wrote about the year 1610. 

f Gipsies in Spain, vol. i. p. 18. Borrow further commits himself by 
remarking that " Head's Vocabulary has always been accepted as the 
speech of the English Gipsies." Nothing of the kind. Head professed to 
have lived with the Gipsies, but in reality niched his words from Decker 
and Brome. 

The modem meanings of a few of the old Cant words are given withio 


Bowsing ken, an alehouse. 
Bufe [Buffer, a man], a dogge. 

Eynge a waste [Avast, get out of the way] go you hence- 
Cackling chete, a coke [cock], or capon. 
Cassan [Cassam], cheese. 
Casters [Castor, a hat], a cloake. 
Cateth, " the vpright Cofe cateth to the Roge" [probably a shortening 

or misprint of Cantelh], 
Chattes, the gallowes. 

Chete [see what has been previously said about this word.] 
Cly [a pocket], to take, receive, or have. 
Cofe [cove], a person. 
Commission [mish], a shirt 
Counterfet cranke, these that do counterfet the Cranke be yong 

knaves and yonge harlots, that deeply dissemble the falling sickness. 
Cranke [cranky, foolish], falling evil [or wasting sickness]. 
Crashing chetes, teeth. 
Cufien, a manne. [A cuif in Northumberland and Scotland signifies a 

lout or awkward fellow.] 

Darkemans, the night. 

Dell, a yonge wench. 

Dewse a vyle, the countrey. 

Dock, to deflower. 

Doxes, harlots. 

Drawers, hosen. 

Dudes [or duds], clothes. 

Parables, handes. 

Fambling chete, a ring on one's hand. 

Ilagg, a groat. 

Prater, a beggar wyth a false paper. 

Preshe water mariners, these kind of caterpillers counterfet great 

losses on the sea : their shippes were drowned in the playne of 


Pylche, to robbe : Fylch-man, a robber. 
Gage, a quart pot 
Gan, a mouth. 

Gentry COfe, a noble or gentle man. 
Gentry cofes ken, a noble or gentle man's house, 
Gentry mort, a noble or gentle woman. 
Gerry, excrement. 
Glasyers, eyes. 
Glymmar, fyer, 
Grannam, come. 
Grunting chete, a pygge. 


G-yb, a writing. 

Gyger [jigger], a. dore. 

Hearing chetes, eares. 

Jarke, a scale. 

Jarkemau, one who makes writings and sets scales fur [counterfeit} 

licences and passports. 
Ken, a house. 
Kynchen CO [or cove], a young boye trained up like a "Kynchjjig 

Morte." [From the German diminutive, Kindschen.] 
Kynching morte, is a little gyrle, carried at their mother's backe in a 

slate, or sheete, who brings them up sauagely. 

Lag, water. 

Lag of dudes, a bucke [or basket] of clothes. 

Lage, to washt. 

Lap, butter mylke, or whey. 

Lightmans, the day. 

Lowing chete, a cowe. 

Lowre, money. [From the Wallachian Gipsy word LOWE, coined money 

See M. Cogalniceano's Essai sur les Ci gains de la Moldo- Valachie.~\ 
Lubbares, "sturdy Lubbarcs," country bumpkins, or men of a low 


Lyb-beg, a ted. 
Lycke [lick], to beate. 
Lyp, to lie down. 
Lypken, a house to lye in. 
Make [mag], a halfpenny. 

Margeri prater, a hen. 

Milling, to steale [by sen ling a child in at a window]. 

Moffling chete, a napkin. 

Mortes [mots], harlots. 

Myll, to robbe. 

Mynt, gold. 

liab [nob], a heade. 

Nabchet, a hat or cap. 

Nase, dronken. 

Nosegent, a nunne. 

Pallyard, a borne beggar [who counterfeits sickness, or incurable sores 

They are mostly Welshmen, Harman says.] 
Par am, mylke. 

PatriGO, a priest. 

Patricos kinchen, a pygge. [A satirical hit at the church, PATRIOO 

meaning a parson or priest, and KINCHEN his little boy or girl.] 
Pek, meat. 
Poppelars, porrage. 


Prat, a buttocke, [This word has its equivalent in modern slang.] 

Pratling chete, a toung. 

Prauncer, a horse. 

Prigger Of prauncers be horse-stealers, for to prigge signifieth in 
tlieir language to steale, and a PRAUNCER is a horse, so being put 
together, the matter was playn. [Thus writes old Thomas Harman, 
who concludes his description of this order of " pryggers, " by very 
quietly saying, " I had the best gelding stolen out of my pasture, that 
I had amongst others, whyle this book was first a-printing."] 

Prygges, dronken tinkers, or beastly people. 

Quacking chete, a drake or duck. 

Quaromes, a body. 

Quier [queer], badde. [See ante.} 

Quier cuffin, the justice of peace. 

Quyer crampringes, boltes or fetten. 

Quyer kyn, a pryson house. 

Bed shanko, a drake or ducke. 

Roger, a goose. 

Home, goode [now curious, noted, or remarkable in any way. Rum u 
the modern orthography]. 

Bome bouse [rum booze], wyne. [A name probably applied by 
canters coming on it for the first time, and tasting it suddenly.] 

Bome mort, the Queene [Elizabeth]. 

Bome vyle [Rum-ville], London. 

Buff peck, baken [short bread, common in old times at farm-houses]. 

Buffmans, the wood or bushes. 

Salomon, an alter or masse. 

Skypper, a bame. 

Slate, a sheete or shetes. 

Smelling chete, a nose. 

Smelling chete, a garden or orchard. 

Snowt fayre [said of a woman who has a pretty face or is comely]. 

Stall [to initiate a beggar or rogue into the rights and privileges of the 
canting order. Harman relates that when an upright man, or initiated 
first-class rogue, " mete any beggar, whether he be sturdy or impotent, 
he will demand of him whether ever he was 'stalled to the roge,' or no. 
If he say he was, he will know of whom, and his name yt stalled him. 
And if he be not learnedly able to shew him the whole circumstance 
thereof, he will spoyle him of his money, either of his best garment, if 
it be worth any money, and haue him to the bowsing-ken : which is, 
to some typling house next adjoyninge, and layth there to gage the 
best thing that he hath for twenty pence or two shillings : this man 
obeyeth for ieare of beatinge. Then dooth this upright man call for a 
gage of bowse, which is a quarte potte of drink, and powres the same 
vpon his peld pate, adding these words, I, G.P., do stalle thee, W. T. t 
to the Roge, and that from henceforth it shall be lawfull for thee to 
cant, that is, to aske or begge for tin lining in al places."] 


Stampers, shoes. 
Stampes, legges. 

Stauling ken, a house that will receyue stollen ware*. 
Stawlinge kens, tippling-houses. 
Stow you [stow it], hold your peace. 
Strike, to steale. 
Strommell, strawe. 

Swadder, or PEDLER [a man who hawks goods]. 
The high pad, the highway. 
The ruffian cly thee, the devil take thee. 
Togemans [tog], cloake. 
Togman, a coate, 
To bowse, to drinke. 
To cant, to speake. 
To cly the gerke, to be whipped. 
To COUCh a hogshead, to lie down and slepe. 
To CUt bene Whyddes, to speake or give good words. 
To CUt benle, to speak gentle. 
To cutte, to say. 

To CUtte quyer Whyddes, to giue euil words or euil language. 
To dup ye gyger [jigger], to open the dore. 
To fylche, to robbe. 

To heue a bough, to robbe or rifle a boweth [booth]. 
To maunde, to aske or require. 
To mill a ken, to robbe a house. 
Tonygle [coition]. 

To nyp a boung, [nip, to steal], to cut a purse. 
To skower the crampringos, to weare boltes or fetters. 
To Stall, to make or ordain. 
To the ruffian, to the Devil. 
To towre, to see. 
Tryning, hanging. 
Tyb of the butery, a goose. 
Walking morte, womene [who pass for widows]. 
Wapping [coition]. 
Whyddes, wordes. 

Wyn, a penny. [A correspondent of Notes and Queries suggests the con- 
* nexion of this word with the Welsh, GWYN, white i.e., the white 
silver penny. See other examples under BLUNT, in the Dictionary ; 
cf. also the Annoncan, " GWENNEK," a penny.] 
Yannam, bread. 

Turning attention more to the Cant of modern times, in con- 
nexion with the old, it will be found that words have been 


drawn into the thieves' vocabulary from every conceivable 
source. Hard or infrequent words, vulgarly termed " crack-jaw," 
or " jaw-breakers," were very often used and considered as Cant 
terms. And here it should be mentioned that at the present 
day the most inconsistent and far-fetched terms are often used 
for secret purposes, when they are known to be caviare to the 
million. It is strange that such words as incongruous, insipid, 
interloper, intriguing, indecorum, forestall, equip, hush, grapple, 
&c., &c., were current Cant words a century and a half ago, if we 
are to judge by the Dictionary of Canting Words at the end of 
Bacchus and Venus* 1737. It is but fair, however, to assume 
that the compiler of the dictionary was but trading on the de- 
mand for Cant phrases, and was humbugging his readers. The 
terms are inserted not as jokes or squibs, but as selections from 
the veritable pocket dictionaries of the Jack Sheppards and 
Dick Turpins of the day. If they were safely used as unknown 
and cabalistic terms amongst the commonalty, the fact would 
form a very curious illustration of the ignorance of our poor an- 
cestors ; but it would be unfair and, indeed, idiotic to assume 
this without much stronger proof than the book in question gives 
of itself. 

Amongst those Cant words which have either altered their 
meanings, or have become extinct, may be cited lady, formerly 
the Cant for "a very crooked, deformed, and ill-shapen 
woman ;"f and Harman, " a pair of stocks, or a constable." The 
former is a pleasant piece of sarcasm, whilst the latter indicates 
a singular method of revenge, or else of satire. Harman was 
the first author who specially wrote against English vagabonds, 
and for his trouble his name, we are told, became synonymous 
with a pair of stocks, or a policeman of the olden time. 

* This is a curious volume, and is worth from one to two guineas. Th* 
Canting Dictionary was afterwards reprinted, word for word, with the title 
of The Scoundrel's Dictionary, in 1751. It was originally published, with- 
out date, about the year 1710, by B. E., under the title of A Dictionary oj 
the Canting Crew. 

t Batchw and Venus. 1737. 


Apart from the Gipsy element, we find that Cant aboundj 
in terms from foreign languages, and that it exhibits signs of a 
growth similar to that of most recognised and completely-formed 
tongues, the gathering of words from foreign sources. In 
the reign of Elizabeth and of King James I., several Dutch, 
Flemish, and Spanish words were introduced by soldiers who 
had served in the Low Countries and sailors who had re- 
turned from the Spanish Main, who, like "mine ancient 
Pistol," were fond of garnishing their speech with out- 
landish phrases. Many of these were soon picked up and 
adopted by vagabonds and tramps in their Cant language. 
The Anglo-Norman and the Anglo-Saxon, the Scotch, the 
French, the Italian, and even the classic languages of ancient 
Italy and Greece, besides the various provincial dialects of 
England, have contributed to its list of words. Indeed, as has 
been remarked, English Cant seems to be formed on the same 
basis as the Argot of the French and the Roth-Sprach of the 
Germans partly metaphorical, and partly by the introduction 
of such corrupted foreign terms as are likely to be unknown to 
the society amid which the Cant speakers exist. Argot is the 
London thieves' word for their secret language ; it is, of course, 
from the French, but that matters not, so long as it is incompre- 
hensible to the police and the mob. " Booze," or " bouse," is 
supposed to come from the Dutch buysen, though the word has 
been in use in England for some hundreds of years. "Domine," 
A parson, is from the Spanish. " Donna and feeles," a woman 
and children, is from the Latin ; and " don," a clever fellow, 
has been filched from the Lingua Franca, or bastard Italian, 
although it sounds like an odd mixture of Spanish and French ; 
whilst "duds," the vulgar term for clothes, may have been pil- 
fered either from the Gaelic or the Dutch. " Feele," a daughter, 
from the French; and " frow," a girl or wife, from the German 
are common tramps' terms. So are "gent," silver, from the 
French argent; and "vial," a country town, also from the 
French. " Horrid-horn," a fool, is believed to be from the 


Erse ; and "gloak," a man, from the Scotch. As stated before, 
the dictionary will supply numerous other instances. 

The Celtic languages have contributed many Cant and 
vulgar words to our popular vocabulary. These have come to 
us through the Gaelic and Irish languages, so closely allied in 
their material as to be merely dialects of a primitive common 
tongue. This element may arise from the Celtic portion of our 
population, which, from its position as slaves or servants to its 
ancient conquerors, has contributed so largely to the lowest 
class of the community, therefore to our Slang, provincial, 
or colloquial words ; or it may be an importation from Irish 
immigrants, who have contributed their fair proportion to our 
criminal stock. 

There is one source, however, of secret street terms which in 
the first edition of this work was entirely overlooked, indeed, 
it was unknown to the original compiler until pointed out by a 
correspondent, the Lingua Franca, or bastard Italian, spoken 
at Genoa, Trieste, Malta, Constantinople, Smyrna, Alexandria, 
and all Mediterranean seaport towns. The ingredients of this 
imported Cant are, as its name denotes, many. Its foundation 
is Italian, with a mixture of modern Greek, German (from the 
Austrian ports), Spanish, Turkish, and French. It has been 
introduced to the notice of the London wandering tribes by the 
sailors, foreign and English, who trade to and from the Medi- 
terranean seaports, but it must not be confounded with the 
mixture of Irish, English, and Italian spoken in neighbourhoods 
like Saffron Hill and Leather Lane, which are thronged with 
swarms of organ-grinders from all parts of Italy, and makers of 
images from Rome and Florence, all of whom, in these dense 
thoroughfares, mingle with our lower orders. It would occupy 
too much space here to give a list of the words used in either 
of these Babel-like tongues, especially as the principal of them 
are noted in the dictionary. 

"There are several Hebrew terms in our Cant language, 
obtained, it would appear, from the intercourse of the thieves 


witn the Jew fences (receivers of stolen goods) ; many of the Cant 
terms, again, are Sanscrit, got from the Gipsies ; many Latin, got 
by the beggars from the Catholic prayers before the Reformation ; 
and many again, Italian, got from the wandering musicians 
and others ; indeed, the showmen have but lately introduced a 
number of Italian phrases into their Cant language."* The 
Hindostanee also contributes several words, and these have 
been introduced by the Lascar sailors, who come over here in 
the East Indiamen, and often lodge during their stay in the low 
tramps' houses at the East-end of London. Speaking of the 
learned tongues, it may be mentioned that, precarious and 
abandoned as the vagabonds' existence is, many persons 
of classical or refined education have from time to time joined 
the nomadic ranks, occasionally from inclination, as in the 
popular instance of Bamfylde Moore Carew, but generally 
through indiscretions, which involve pecuniary difficulty and loss 
of character, f This will in some measure account for numerous 
classical and learned words figuring as Cant terms in the vulgar 

In the early part of the last century, when highwaymen and 
footpads were plentiful, and when the dangerous classes were 
in larger proportion to the bulk of the population than they are 
now, a great many new words were added to the canting 
vocabulary, whilst several old terms fell into disuse. " Cant," 
for instance, as applied to thieves' talk, was supplanted by the 
word " flash." In the North of England the Cant employed 
by tramps and thieves is known as " Gammy." It is mainly 

* London Labour and the London Poor. 

t Mayhew (vol. i. p. 217) speaks of a low lodging-house "in which 
there were at one time five university men, three surgeons, and several sorts 
of broken-down clerks. " . But old Harman's saying, that ' ' a wylde Roge is 
he that is borne a roge, " will perhaps explain this seeming anomaly. There 
is, whatever may be the reason, no disputing the truth of this latter state- 
ment, as there is not, we venture to say, a common lodging-house in 
London without broken-down gentlemen, who have been gentlemen very 
often far beyond the conventional application of the term to any one with s 
good coat on his back and money in his pocket. 



from the old Gipsy corrupted. In the large towns of Ireland 
and Scotland this secret language is also spoken, with of 
course additions peculiar to each locality. All those words 
derived from " gammy" are inserted in the dictionary as from 
"die North country. 

A singular feature, however, in vulgar language is the reten- 
tion and the revival of sterling old English words, long since 
laid up in ancient manuscripts. Disraeli somewhere says, " The 
purest source of neology is in the revival of old words" 

" Words that wise Bacon or brave Rawleigh spake ;" 

and Dr. Latham remarks that "the thieves of London are 
the conservators of Anglo-Saxonisms." A young gentleman 
from Belgravia, who had lost his watch or his pocket-handker- 
chief, would scarcely remark to his mamma that it had been 
' boned" yet " bone," in old times, meant, amongst high 
and low, to steal. And a young lady living in the precincts of 
dingy but aristocratic Mayfair, although enraptured with a 
Jenny Lind or a Ristori, would hardly think of turning back in 
the box to inform papa that she (Ristori or Lind) " made no 
* bones' of it" yet the phrase was most respectable and well- 
to-do before it met with a change of circumstances. Possibly 
fashion, in its journey from east to west, left certain phrases 
and metaphors behind, which being annexed by the newcomers, 
sank gradually in the social scale until they ultimately passed 
out of the written language altogether, and became " flash " 
or Slang. " A ' crack' article," however first-rate, would have 
greatly displeased Dr. Johnson and Mr. Walker yet both 
crack, in the sense of excellent, and crack up, to boast or 
praise, were not considered vulgarisms in the time of Henry 
VIII. The former term is used frequently nowadays, as a kind of 
polite and modified Slang as a " crack" regiment, a "crack" 
shot, &c. " Dodge," a cunning trick, is from the Anglo-Saxon ; 
and ancient nobles used to " get each other's ' dander' up" 
before appealing to their swords, quite " flabbergasting" (also 


a respectable old word) the half-score of lookers-on with the 
thumps and cuts of their heavy weapons. " Gallivanting," 
waiting upon the ladies, was as polite in expression as in 
action ; whilst a clergyman at Panic's Crosse thought nothing 
of bidding a noisy hearer " hold his ' gab,' " or " shut up his 
'gob.' " But then the essence of preaching was to indulge in 
idiomatic phrases and colloquialisms a practice now almost 
peculiar to itinerant " ranters." " Gadding," roaming about in 
an idle and vacant manner, was used in an old translation of 
the Bible ; and " to do anything ' gingerly' " was to do it with 
great care. Persons of modern affected tastes will be shocked 
to know that the great Lord Bacon spoke of the lower part of a 
man's face as his " gills," though the expression is not more 
objectionable than the generality of metaphor, and is consider- 
ably more respectable than many words admitted to the 
genteel we use the word advisedly vocabulary. 

Shakspeare also used many words which are now counted 
dreadfully vulgar. " ' Clean' gone," in the sense of out of sight, 
or entirely away ; " you took me all ' a-mort,' " or confounded 
me ; " it wont ' fadge,' " or suit, are phrases taken at random 
from the great dramatist's works. These phrases are the natural 
outcome of the poet's truth to life in the characters he por- 
trayed. A London costermonger, or inhabitant of the streets, 
instead of saying, " I'll make him yield," or " give in," in a 
fight or contest, would say, " I'll make him ' buckle' under." 
Shakspeare in his Henry the Fourth (part ii. act i. scene i), 
has the word ; and Mr. Halliwell, one of the greatest and most 
industrious of living antiquaries, informs us that " the commen- 
tators do not supply another example." If Shakspeare was not 
a pugilist, he certainly anticipated the terms of the prize-ring 
or they were respectable words before the prize-ring was 
thought of for he has " pay," to beat or thrash, and " pepper," 
with a similar meaning ; also " fancy," in the sense of pets and 
favourites, pugilists are often termed " the ' fancy.' " The 
origin of the term, as applied to them, has, however, never been 

D 3 


satisfactorily decided, though Pierce Egan and others since his 
time have speculated ingeniously on the subject. The Cant 
word " prig," from the Saxon priaan, to filch, is also Shak- 
spearian ; so, indeed, is " piece," a contemptuous term for a 
young woman. Shakspeare was not the only vulgar dramatist 
of his time. Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Brome, and 
other play-writers, occasionally, and very naturally, put Cant 
words into the mouths of their low characters, or employed old 
words which have since degenerated into vulgarisms. " Crusty," 
poor tempered ; " two of a kidney," two of a sort ; " lark," 
a piece of fun ; " lug," to pull j " bung," to give or pass ; 
" pickle," a sad plight ; " frump," to mock, are a few specimens 
casually picked from the works of the old histrionic writers. 

One old English mode of canting, simple enough, but 
affected only by the most miserable impostors, was the inserting 
A consonant betwixt each syllable ; thus, taking g, " How do 
you do ?" would be " How^ dog you do.g-?" The name very 
properly given to this disagreeable nonsense, we are informed 
by Grose, was gibberish. 

Another slang has been manufactured by transposing the 
initial letters of words, so that a mutton chop becomes a 
button /wop, and a pint of stout a stint of /out ; but it is satis- 
factory to know that it has gained no ground, as it is remarkable 
for nothing so much as poverty of resource on the part of its 
inventors. This is called " Marrowskying," or " Medical Greek," 
from its use by medical students at the hospitals. Albert Smith 
termed it the " Gower Street Dialect," and referred to it occa- 
sionally in his best-known works. 

The " Language of Ziph," it may be noted, is another rude 
mode of disguising English, in use among the students at 
Winchester College. Some notices of this method of conveying 
secret information, with an extensive Glossary of the Words, 
Phrases, Customs, &c., peculiar to the College, may be found 
in Mr. Mansfield's School Life at Winchester College. It is 
certainly too puerile a specimen of work to find place here. 




ONE of the most singular chapters in a history of vaga- 
bondism would certainly be " An Account of the 
Hieroglyphic Signs used by Tramps and Thieves," and 
it certainly would not be the least interesting. The reader 
may be startled to know that, in addition to a secret language, 
the wandering tribes of this country have private marks and 
symbols with which to score their successes, failures, and advice 
to succeeding beggars ; in fact, there is no doubt that the 
country is really dotted over with beggars' finger-posts and 
guide-stones. The subject was not long since brought under 
the attention of the Government by Mr. Rawlinson.* " There 
is," he says in his report, " a sort of blackguards' literature, 
and the initiated understand each other by Slang [Cant] terms, 
by pantomimic signs, and by hieroglyphics. The vagrant's 
mark may be seen in Havant, on corners of streets, on door- 
posts, on house-steps. Simple as these chalk-lines appear, 
they inform the succeeding vagrants of all they require to 
know ; and a few white scratches may say, ' Be importunate,' 
or ' Pass on.' " 

Another very curious account was taken from a provincial 
newspaper, published in 1849, and forwarded to Notes and 

' Mr. Rawlinson's Report to the General Board of Health, Parish 
Havant, Hampshire. 


Queries* under the head of Mendicant Freemasonry. 
"Persons," remarks the writer, "indiscreet enough to open 
their purses to the relief of the beggar tribe, would do well to 
take a readily-learned lesson as to the folly of that misguided 
benevolence which encourages and perpetuates vagabondism. 
Every door or passage is pregnant with instruction as to the 
error committed by the patron of beggars ; as the beggar- 
marks show that a system of freemasonry is followed, by which 
a beggar knows whether it will be worth his while to call into 
a passage or knock at a door. Let any one examine the 
entrances to the passages in any town, and there he will find 
chalk marks, unintelligible to him, but significant enough to 
beggars. If a thousand towns are examined, the same marks 
will be found at every passage entrance. The passage mark is 
a cypher with a twisted tail ; in some cases the tail projects 
into the passage, in others outwardly ; thus seeming to indicate 
whether the houses down the passage are worth calling at or 
not Almost every door has its marks ; these are varied. In 
some cases there is a cross on the brickwork, in others a 
cypher ; the figures i, 2, 3 are also used. Every person may 
for himself test the accuracy of these statements by the exami- 
nation of the brickwork near his own doorway thus demon- 
strating that mendicity is a regular trade, carried out upon a 
system calculated to save time, and realize the largest profits." 
These remarks refer mainly to provincial towns, London 
being looked upon as the tramps' home, and therefore too 
" fly" or experienced to be duped by such means. The title it 
obtains, that of " the Start," or first place in everything, is 
significant of this. 

Provincial residents, who are more likely to view the fore- 
ping extract with an eye of suspicion than are those who live 
in a position to constantly watch for and profit by evidences 
of the secret intercommunication indulged in by the dangerous 

- J.JH 

* Vol. V. p. 210. 


classes, should note, in favour of the extract given, how signi- 
ficant is the practice of tramps and beggars calling in unfre- 
quented localities, and how obvious it is that they are directed 
by a code of signals at once complete and imperious. It is bad 
for a tramp who is discovered disobeying secret orders. He is 
marked out and subjected to all kinds of annoyance by means 
of decoy hieroglyphs, until his life becomes a burden to him, 
and he is compelled to starve or most horrible of alterna- 
tives go to work. 

The only other notice of the hieroglyphs of vagabonds worth 
remarking is in Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor* 
Mayhew obtained his information from two tramps, who stated 
that hawkers employ these signs as well as beggars. One tramp 
thus described the method of " working"! a sma ^ town. " Two 
hawkers (' pals' f) go together, but separate when they enter 
a village, one taking one side of the road, and selling different 
things, and so as to inform each other as to the character 
of the people at whose houses they call, they chalk certain 
marks on their door-posts." Another informant stated that " if 
a ' patterer' f has been ' crabbed' " (that is, offended by refusal 
or exposure) "at any of the 'cribs'' (houses), "he mostly 
chalks a signal at or near the door." These hawkers 
were not of the ordinary, but of the tramp, class, who carried 
goods more as a blind to then: real designs than for the pur 
poses of sale. They, in fact, represented the worst kinds of the 
two classes. The law has comparatively recently improved 
these nondescript gentry off the face of the country, a^d the 
hawker of the present day is generally a man more sinned 
against than sinning. 

Another use is also made of hieroglyphs. Charts of successful 
begging neighbourhoods are rudely drawn, and symbolical 
signs attached to each house to show whether benevolent or 
adverse. \ "In many cases there is over the kitchen mantel- 

* Vol. i. pp. 218 and 247. t See Dictionary. 

t Sometimes, as appears from the following, the names of persons and 


piece" of a tramps' lodging-house "a map of the district, 
dotted here and there with memorandums of failure or suc- 
cess." A correct facsimile of one of these singular maps is 
given in this book. It was obtained from the patterers and 
tramps who supplied a great many words for this work, and 
who were employed by the original publisher in collecting 
Old Ballads, Christmas Carols, Dying Speeches, and Last 
Lamentations, as materials for a History of Popular Literature. 
The reader will, no doubt, be amused with the drawing. The 
locality depicted is near Maidstone, in Kent; and it was 
probably sketched by a wandering Screever* in payment for a 
night's lodging. The English practice of marking everything, 
and scratching names on public property, extends itself to 
the tribe of vagabonds. On the map, as may be seen in the 
left-hand corner, some Traveller* has drawn a favourite or 
noted female, singularly nicknamed Three-quarter Sarah. 
What were the peculiar accomplishments of this lady to 
demand so uncommon a name, the reader will be at a loss to 
discover ; but a patterer says it probably refers to a shuffling 
dance of that name, common in tramps' lodging-houses, and in 

houses are written instead. " In almost every one of the padding-kens, or 
low lodging-houses in the country, there is a list of walks pasted up over 

the kitchen mantelpiece. Now at St. Albans, for instance, at the , 

and at other places, there is a paper stuck up in each of the kitchens. This 
paper is headed, 'Walks out of this town' and underneath it is set 
down the names of the villages in the neighbourhood at which a beggar may 
call when out on his walk, and they are so arranged as to allow the cadger 
to make a round of about six miles each day, and return the same night. 
In many of these papers there are sometimes twenty walks set down. No 
villages that are in any way ' gammy' [bad] are ever mentioned in these 
papers, and the cadger, if he feels inclined to stop for a few days in the 
town, will be told by the lodging-house keeper, or the other cadgers that 
he may meet there, what gentlemen's seats or private houses are of any 
account on the walk that he means to take. The names of the good houses 
are not set down in the paper, for fear of the police." Mayhew, vol. i. 
p. 41 8. [This business is also much altered in consequence of the increase 
in the surveillance of the kens, an increase which, though nominally for 
sanitary purposes, has a strong moral effect. Besides this, Mr. Mayhew's 
informants seem to have possessed a fair share of that romance which is 
inherent among vagabonds. ED.] 

* See Dictionary. 


which " | Sarah" may have been a proficient Above her, three 
beggars or hawkers have reckoned their day's earnings, 
amounting to 135., and on the right a tolerably correct sketch 
of a low hawker, or cadger, is drawn. " To Dover, the nigh 
way," is the exact phraseology; and "hup here," a fair 
specimen of the self-acquired education of the draughtsman. 
No key or explanation to the hieroglyphs was given in the 
original, because it would have been superfluous, when every 
inmate of the lodging-house knew the marks from his cradle 
or rather his mother's back. 

Should there be no map, in most lodging-houses there is an 
old man who is guide to every " walk" in the vicinity, and 
who can tell on every round each house that is " good for a 
cold tatur." The hieroglyphs that are used are : 

^ No good ; too poor, and know too much. 

f\t Stop, If you have what they want, they will buy. They are 
pretty "fly" (knowmg). 

Go in this direction, it is better than the other road. 
Nothing that way. 

OBone (good). Safe for a "cold tatur," if for nothing else. 
" Cheese your patter" (don't talk much) here. 

^7 Cooper' d. (spoilt), by too many tramps calling there. 

Gammy (unfavourable), like to have you taken up. Mind the 
1-1 dog. 

Q Flummuxed (dangerous), sure of a month in " quod" (prison). 
ft Religious, but tidy on the whole. 

Where did these signs come from ? and when were they first 
used ? are questions which have been asked again and again, 
and the answers have been many and various. Knowing the 
character of the Gipsies, and ascertaining from a tramp that 
they are well acquainted with the hieroglyphs, " and have been 
as long ago as ever he could remember," there is little fear of 
being wrong in ascribing the invention to them. How strange 
h would be if some modern Belzoni, or Champollion say Mr, 


George Smith, for instance discovered in these beggars' marks 
traces of ancient Egyptian or Hindoo sign-writing ! 

That the Gipsies were in the habit of leaving memorials of 
the road they had taken, and the successes that had befallen 
them, is upon record. In an old book, The Triumph of Wit, 
1724, there is a passage which appears to have been copied 
from some older work, and it runs thus : " The Gipsies set out 
twice a year, and scatter all over England, each parcel having 
their appointed stages, that they may not interfere, nor hinder 
each other ; and for that purpose, when they set forward in the 
country, they stick up boughs in the way of divers kinds, 
according as it is agreed among them, that one company may 
know which way another is gone, and so take another road." 
The works of Hoyland and Borrow supply other instances. 

It would be hardly fair to close this subject without drawing 
attention to the extraordinary statement that, actually on the 
threshold of the gibbet, the sign of the vagabond was to be 
met with ! " The murderer's signal is even exhibited from the 
gallows ; as a red handkerchief held in the hand of the felon 
about to be executed is a token that he dies without having 
betrayed any professional secrets."* Private executions have of 
course rendered this custom obsolete, even if it ever existed. 

Since the first editions of this work were published, the 
publishers have received from various parts of England 
numerous evidences of the still active use of beggars' marks 
and mendicant hieroglyphs. One gentleman writes from 
Great Yarmouth to say that, whilst residing in Norwich, he used 
frequently to see them on the houses and street corners in the 
suburbs. Another gentleman, a clergyman, states that he has 
so far made himself acquainted with the meanings of the signs 
employed, that by himself marking the characters D (gammy) 

Mr. Rawlinson's Report to the General Board of Health, Parish t 
navant, Hampshire. 


and (flummuxed) on the gate-posts of his parsonage, he 
enjoys a singular immunity from alms-seekers and cadgers on 
the tramp. This hint may not be lost on many other sufferers 
from importunate beggars, yet its publication may lead to the 
introduction of a new code. 

* * * * 

In a popular constable's guide,* giving the practice of justices 
in petty sessions, the following interesting paragraph is found, 
corroborating what has just been said on the hieroglyphs used 
by vagabonds : 

" Gipsies follow their brethren by numerous marks, such as strewing 
handfuls of grass in the daytime at a four lane or cross roads ; the grass 
being strewn down the road the gang have taken ; also, by a cross being 
made on the ground with a stick or knife the longest end of the cross 
denotes the route taken. In the night-time a cleft stick is placed in the 
fence at the cross roads, with an arm pointing down the road their comrades 
have taken. The marks are always placed on the left-hand side, so that 
the stragglers can easily and readily find them. " 

From the cleft stick here alluded to, we learn the origin and 
use of ^, the third hieroglyph in the vagabond's private 
list. And the extract also proves that the " rule of the road" 
is the same with tramps as with that body which is morally less 
but physically more dangerous, the London drivers. 

* Snowden's Magistral $ Assistant, 1852, p. 444. 




SLANG is the language of street humour, of fast, high, and 
low life. Cant, as was stated in the chapter upon that 
subject, is the vulgar language of secrecy. It must be admitted, 
however, that within the past few years they have become 
almost indivisible. They are both universal and ancient, and 
appear to have been, with certain exceptions, the offspring of 
gay, vulgar, or worthless persons in every part of the world at 
every period of time. Indeed, if we are to believe implicitly the 
saying of the wise man, that " there is nothing new under the 
sun," the " bloods " of buried Nineveh, with their knotty and 
door-ma tty-looking beards, may have cracked Slang jokes on the 
steps of Sennacherib's palace ; while the stocks and stones of 
ancient Egypt, and the bricks of venerable and used-up 
Babylon, may be covered with Slang hieroglyphs, which, 
being perfectly unknown to modern antiquaries, have long been 
stumbling-blocks to the philologist ; so impossible is it at this 
day to say what was then authorized, or what vulgar, language. 
The only objection that can be raised to this idea is, that Slang 
was, so far as can be discovered, traditional, and unwritten, 
until the appearance of this volume, a state of things which ac- 
counts for its many changes, and the doubtful orthography of even 
its best known and most permanent forms. Slang is almost as 
old as speech, and must date from the congregating together of 


people in cities. It is the result of crowding, and excitement, 
and artificial life. We have traces of this as far as we can refer 
back. Martial, the epigrammatist, is full of Slang. When an 
uninvited guest accompanied his friend, the Slang of the day 
styled him his "umbra;" when a man was trussed, neck and heels 
it called him jocosely " quadrupus." Slang is nowadays very 
often the only vehicle by which rodomontade may be avoided. 
It is often full of the most pungent satire, and is always to the 
point. Without point Slang has no raison d'etre, 

Old English Slang was coarser, and depended more upon 
downright vulgarity than our modern Slang. It was a jesting 
speech, or humorous indulgence for the thoughtless moment 
or the drunken hour, and it acted as a vent-peg for a fit of 
temper or irritability ; but it did not interlard and permeate 
every description of conversation as now. It was confined to 
nicknames and improper subjects, and encroached but to a very 
small extent upon the domain of authorized speech. Indeed, 
it was exceedingly limited when compared with the vast territory 
of Slang in such general favour and complete circulation at the 
present day. Still, although not an extensive institution, as in 
our time, Slang certainly did exist in this country centuries ago, 
as we may see if we look down the page of any respectable 
History of England. Cromwell was familiarly called " Old 
Noll," in much the same way as Bonaparte was termed 
" Boney," and Wellington " Conkey" or " Nosey," only a few 
years ago.* His Legislature, too, was spoken of in a high- 
flavoured way as the " Barebones" or " Rump" Parliament, 
and his followers were nicknamed " Roundheads," and the 
peculiar religious sects of his protectorate were styled " Puri- 
tans" and "Quakers."! The Civil War pamphlets, and the 

* An outgrowth of this latter peculiarity consisted in any one with a high 
or prominent nose being, a few years back, called by the street boys 

t This term, with a singular literal downrightness, which would be 
remarkable in any other people than the French, is translated by them ai 
the sect of Trembifurs. 


satirical hits of the Cavaliers and the Commonwealth men, origi- 
nated numerous Slang words and vulgar similes in full use 
at the present moment Here is a field of inquiry for the 
Philological Society, indeed a territory, for there are thirty 
thousand of these partisan tracts. Later still, in the court 
of Charles II., the naughty ladies and the gay lords, with 
Rochester at their head, talked Slang ; and very naughty Slang 
it was too. Fops in those days, when " over head and ears" 
in debt, and in continual fear of arrest, termed their enemies, 
the bailiffs, " Philistines"* or " Moabites." At a later period, 
when collars were worn detached from shirts, in order to save 
the expense of washing an object, it would seem, with needy 
" swells " in all ages they obtained the name of " Jacobites." 
One-half of the coarse wit in Butler's Hudibras lurks in the 
vulgar words and phrases which he was so fond of employing. 
These Slang phrases contained the marrow of his arguments 
stripped of all superfluous matter, and they fell with ponderous 
weight and terrible effect upon his opponents. They were 
more homely and forcible than the mild and elegant sen- 
tences of Cowley, and the people, therefore, hurrahed them, 
and pronounced Butler one of themselves, or, as we should 
say, in a joyful moment, " a jolly good fellow." Orator Henley 
preached and prayed in Slang, and first charmed and then 
ruled the dirty mobs in Lincoln's Inn Fields by vulgarisms. 
Burly Grose mentions Henley, with the remark that we owe a 
great many Slang phrases to him, though even the worst Slang 
was refinement itself compared with many of Henley's most 
studied oratorical utterances, which proves that the most black- 
guard parts of a blackguard speech may be perfectly free from 
either Slang or Cant. Swift, and old Sir Roger L'Estrange, and 
Arbuthnot, were all fond of vulgar or Slang language ; indeed, 
we may see from a Slang word used by the latter how curious 

* Swift alludes to this term in his Art of Polite Conversation, p. 14, 


is the gradual adoption of vulgar terms in our standard dic- 
tionaries. The worthy doctor, in order to annihilate (or, as we 
should say, with a fitting respect to the subject under considera- 
tion, to " smash") an opponent, thought proper on an occasion 
to use the word " cabbage," not in the ancient sense of a flatulent 
vegetable of the kitchen-garden, but in the at once Slang sense 
of purloining or cribbing. Johnson soon met with the word, 
looked at it, examined it, weighed it, and shook his head, but 
out of respect to a brother doctor inserted it in his dictionary, 
labelling it, however, prominently " Cant ;" whilst Walker and 
Webster, years after, when all over England " to cabbage" was to 
pilfer, placed the term in their dictionaries as an ancient and 
very respectable word. Another Slang term, " gull," to cheat, or 
delude, sometimes varied to " gully," is stated to be connected 
with the Dean of St. Patrick's. "Gull," a dupe, or a fool, is often 
used by our old dramatists, and is generally believed to have 
given rise to the verb ; but a curious little edition of Bamfylde 
Moore Carew, published in 1827, says that " to gull," or " gully," 
is derived from the well-known Gulliver, the hero of the 
famous Travels. It may be from the phrase, " You can't come 
Gulliver over me," in use while the popularity of the book was 
hot. How crammed with Slang are the dramatic works of the 
last century ! The writers of the comedies and farces in those 
days must have lived in the streets, and written their plays in 
the public-houses, so filled are they with vulgarisms and 
unauthorized words. The popular phrases, " I owe you one," 
" That's one for his nob," and " Keep moving, dad," arose in 
this way.* The second of these sayings was, doubtless, taken 
from the card-table, for at cribbage the player who holds the 
knave of the suit turned up counts " one for his nob," and the 
dealer who turns up a knave counts " two for his heels." From 
a dramatic point of view, the use of these phrases is perfectly 
correct, as they were in constant use among the people supposed 
to be represented by the author's characters. 

* See Notes and Queries, vol. i. p. 185. 1850. 


In Mrs. Centlivre's admirable comedy of A Bold Stroke for 
a Wife, we see the origin of that popular phrase, the real 
Simon Pure. Simon Pure is the Quaker name adopted by 
Colonel Feignwell as a trick to obtain the hand of Mistress 
Anne Lovely in marriage. The veritable Quaker, the " real 
Simon Pure," recommended by Aminadab Holdfast, of Bristol, 
as a fit sojourner with Obadiah Prim, arrives at last, to the 
discomfiture of the Colonel, who, to maintain his position and 
gain time, concocts a letter in which the real Quaker is spoken 
of as a housebreaker who had travelled in the " leather con- 
veniency" from Bristol, and adopted the garb and name of the 
western Quaker in order to pass off as the " Real Simon Pure," 
but only for the purpose of robbing the house and cutting the 
throat of the perplexed Obadiah. The scene in which the two 
Simon Pures, the real and the counterfeit, meet, is one of the 
best in the comedy. 

Tom Brown, of " facetious memory," as his friends were wont 
to say, and Ned Ward, who wrote humorous books, and when 
tired drew beer for his customers at his alehouse in Long 
Acre,* were both great producers of Slang in the last century, 
and to them we owe many popular current phrases and house- 
hold words. 

Written Slang was checked, rather than advanced, by the 
pens of Addison, Johnson, and Goldsmith ; although Bee, 
the bottle-holder and historiographer of the pugilistic band of 
brothers in the youthful days of flat-nosed Tom Cribb, has 
gravely stated that Johnson, when young and rakish, contributed 
to an early volume of the Gentleman's Magazine a few pages, by 
way of specimen, of a slang dictionary, the result, Mr. Bee says, 
" of his midnight ramblings !"t This statement is not only 
improbable, but an' investigation of the venerable magazine, 
though strict and searching, produces no evidence in corrobora- 

* He afterwards kept a tavern at Wapping, mentioned by Pope in the 

t Sportsman's Dictionary, 1825, p. 15. 


lion of Mr. Bee. Goldsmith, even, certainly coined a few words 
as occasion required, although as a rule his pen was pure 
and graceful, and adverse to neologisms. The word " fudge," 
it has been stated, was first used by him in literary composition, 
although it probably originated with one Captain Fudge, a 
notorious fibber, nearly a century before. Street phrases, nick- 
names, and vulgar words were continually being added to the 
great stock of popular Slang up to the commencement of the pre- 
sent century, when it received numerous additions from pugilism, 
horse-racing, and " fast " life generally, which suddenly came 
into great public favour, and was at its height in the latter part 
of the reign of George III., and in the early days of the 
Regency. Slang in those days was generally termed " flash" 
language. It will thus be noted that the term " flash" has in 
turn represented both Cant and Slang ; now the word Slang 
has become perfectly generic. So popular was " flash" with 
the " bloods" of high life, that it constituted the best paying 
literary capital for certain authors and dramatists. Pierce Egan 
issued Boxiana, and Life in London, six portly octavo volumes, 
crammed with Slang ; and Moncrieff wrote the most popular 
farce of the day, Tom and Jerry (adapted from the latter 
work), which, to use newspaper Slang, "took the town by 
storm," and, with its then fashionable vulgarisms, made the 
fortune of the old Adelphi Theatre, and was without exception 
the most wonderful instance of a continuous theatrical run in 
ancient or modern times. This also was brimful of Slang. 
Other authors helped to popularize and extend Slang down to 
our own time, and it has now taken a somewhat different turn, 
dropping many of the Cant and old vulgar words, and assuming a 
certain quaint and fashionable phraseology familiar, utilitarian, 
and jovial. There can be no doubt that common speech is 
greatly influenced by fashion, fresh manners, and that general 
change of ideas which steals over a people once in a generation. 
But before proceeding further into the region of Slang, it will 
be well to say something on the etymology of the word. 


The word Slang is only mentioned by two lexicographers 
Webster and Ogilvie.* Johnson, Walker, and the older compilers 
of dictionaries give " slang" as the preterite of " sling," but not 
a word about Slang in the sense of low, vulgar, or unrecognised 
language. The origin of the word has often been asked for in 
literary journals and books, but only one man, until recently, 
ever hazarded an etymology Jonathan Bee.f With a reck- 
lessness peculiar to ignorance, Bee stated that Slang was de- 
rived from " the slangs or fetters worn by prisoners, having 
acquired that name from the manner in which they were worn, 
as they required a sling of string to keep them off the ground." 
Bee had just been nettled at Pierce Egan's producing a new 
edition of Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, and was 
determined to excel in a vulgar dictionary of his own, which 
should be more racy, more pugilistic, and more original. How 
far he succeeded in this latter particular, his ridiculous etymo- 
logy of Slang will show. Slang is not an English word ; it is 
the Gipsy term for their secret language, and its synonym is 
Gibberish another word which was believed to have had no 
distinct origin.^ Grose stout and burly Captain Grose whom 
we may characterize as the greatest antiquary, joker, and porter- 
drinker of his day, was the first lexicographer to recognise the 
word " Slang." It occurs in his Classical Dictionary of the 
Vulgar Tongue, of 1785, with the statement that it implies 
" Cant or vulgar language." Grose was a great favourite with 
Burns, and so pleased him by his extensive powers of story- 
telling and grog-imbibing, that the companionable and humour- 

* This introduction was written in 1859, before the new edition of 
Worcester, and Nuttall's recent work, were published. 

t Introduction to Bee's Sportsman's Dictionary, 1825. 

The Gipsies use the word Slang as the Anglican synonym for Romany, 
the Continental (or rather Spanish) term for the Cingari or Gipsy tongue. 
Crabb, who wrote the Gipsies' Advocate va. 1831, thus mentions the word: 
" This language [Gipsy] called by themselves Slang, or Gibberish, invented, 
as they think, by their forefathers for secret purposes, is not merely tha 
language of one or a few of these wandering tribes, which are found in the 
European nations, but is adopted by the vast numbers who inhabit t?n 


loving Scotch bard wrote for his fat friend or, to use his own 
words, " the fine, fat, fodgel wight" the immortal poem of 
Tarn O' Shanter." 

It is not worth while troubling the reader with a long account 
of the transformation into an English term of the word Slang, 
as it is easily seen how we obtained it. Hucksters and beggars 
on tramp, or at fairs and races, associate and frequently join in 
any rough enterprise with the Gipsies. The word would be 
continually heard by them, and would in this manner soon be- 
come part of their vocabulary,* and, when carried by " fast" or 
vulgar fashionables from the society of thieves and low characters 
to their own drawing-rooms, would as quickly become Slang, 
and the representative term for all vulgar language. Modern 
philologists give the word Slang as derived from the French 
langne. This is, at all events, as likely as any other derivative. 

Any sudden excitement or peculiar circumstance is quite suffi- 
cient to originate and set going a score of Slang words. Nearly 
every election or public agitation throws out offshoots of excite- 
ment, or scintillations of humour in the shape of Slang terms 
vulgar at first, but at length adopted, if possessing sufficient hold 
on the public mind, as semi-respectable from sheer force of 
habit. There is scarcely a condition or calling in life that does 
not possess its own peculiar Slang. The professions, legal and 
medical, have each familiar and unauthorized terms for peculiar 
circumstances and things, and it is quite certain that the clerical 
calling, or " the cloth" in itself a Slang term given at a time 
when the laity were more distinguished by their gay dress 
from the clergy than they are now is not entirely free from 
this, peculiarity. Every workshop, warehouse, factory, and mill 
throughout the country has its Slang, and so have the public 
schools and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Sea 

* The word Slang assumed various meanings imongst costermongers, 
beggars, and vagabonds of all orders. It was, and is still, used to express 
"cheating by false weights," "a raree show," " retiring by a back door.." 
"a watch-chain," their "secret language," &c. 


Slang constitutes the principal charm of a sailor's " yarn ;" and 
our soldiers have in turn their peculiar nicknames and terms for 
things and subjects, proper and improper. A writer in Household 
Words (No. 183) has gone so far as to remark, that a person 
" shall not read one single parliamentary debate, as reported in 
a first-class newspaper, without meeting scores of Slang words " 
and " that from Mr. Speaker in his chair, to the Cabinet Minis- 
ters whispering behind it from mover to seconder, from true 
blue Protectionist to extremest Radical Mr. Barry's New 
House echoes and re-echoes with Slang." This statement is 
most worthy of notice, as showing how, with a very small sub- 
stratum of fact, a plausible, though not the less gigantic, mis- 
statement may be built up. 

The universality of Slang is extraordinary. Let any person 
for a short time narrowly examine the conversation of his 
dearest and nearest friends, or even analyse his own supposed 
correct talk, and he shall be amazed at the numerous unau- 
thorized, and what we can only call vulgar, words in constant 
use. One peculiarity of the growth of Slang is the finding of 
new meanings for old words. Take, for instance, the verbs "do," 
"cut," "go," and "take," and see how they are used to express 
fresh ideas, and then let us ask ourselves how is it possible 
for a Frenchman or German, be he never so well educated, to 
avoid continually blundering and floundering amongst our 
little words when trying to make himself understood in an 
ordinary conversation ? He may have studied our language the 
required time, and have gone through the usual amount of 
"grinding," and practised the common allotment of patience, 
but all to no purpose as far as accuracy is concerned. As, how- 
ever, we do not make our language, nor for the matter of that 
our Slang, for the convenience or inconvenience of foreigners, 
we need not pursue this portion of the subject further. " Jabber 3 * 
and "hoax" were Slang and Cant terms in Swift's time; so, indeed, 
were "mob" and "sham."* Words directly from the Latin and 

* North, in his Examen, p. 574, says, "I may note that the rabble first 


Greek, framed in accordance with the rules which govern the 
construction of the language, are not Slang, but are good Eng- 
lish, if not Saxon, a term, by the way, which is as much mis- 
used as any unfortunate word that can be remembered just now. 
Sound contributes many Slang words a source that etymolo- 
gists frequently overlook. Nothing pleases an ignorant person so 
much as a high-sounding term, " full of fury." How melodious 
and drum-like are those vulgar coruscations " rumbumptious," 
" slantingdicular," " splendiferous," " rumbustious," and " ferri- 
cadouzer." What a "pull" the sharp-nosed lodging-house- 
keeper thinks she has over her victims if she can but hurl such 
testimonies of a liberal education at them when they are dis- 
puting her charges, and threatening to " absquatulate !" In the 
United States the vulgar-genteel even excel the poor " stuck- 
up" Cockneys in their formation of a native fashionable lan- 
guage. How charming to a refined ear are "abskize," " catawam- 
pously," " exflunctify," "obscute," " keslosh," " kesouse," "kes- 
wollop," and " kewhollux !"* It must not be forgotten, however, 
that a great many new " Americanisms" are perfectly unknown 
in America, and in this respect they resemble the manners and 
customs of our cousins as found in books, and in books only. 
Vulgar words representing action and brisk movement often owe 
their origin to sound, as has before been remarked. Mispro- 
nunciation, too, is another great source of vulgar or Slang words, 
and of this " ramshackle," " shackly," " nary-one" for neither 
or neither one, " ottomy" or " atomy" for anatomy, " rench" for 
rinse, are specimens. The commonalty dislike frequently- 
occurring words difficult of pronunciation, and so we have the 
street abridgments of " bimeby" for by-and-by, " caze" for be- 

changed their title, and were called the " mob" in the assemblies of this 
[Green Ribbon] club. It was their beasts of burden, and called first mobile 
vulgus, but fell naturally into the contraction of one syllable, and ever since 
is become proper English." In the same work, p. 231, the disgraceful 
origin of SHAM is given. 

* I am afraid my predecessor was of a somewhat satirical turn of mind, 
or else he had peculiar notions of melody. ED. 


cause, " gin" for given, " hankercher" for handkerchief, " riima 
tiz" for rheumatism, " backer" for tobacco, and many others, 
not perhaps Slang, but certainly, all vulgarisms. Whately, in 
his Remains of Bishop Copleston, has inserted a leaf from the 
bishop's note-book on the popular corruption of names, men- 
tioning, among others, " kickshaws," as from the French quelques 
choses; " beefeater," the grotesque guardian of royalty in a 
procession, and the envied devourer of enormous beefsteaks, 
as but a vulgar pronunciation of the French buffetier, and 
" George and Cannon," the sign of a public-house, as nothing 
but a corruption (although so soon !) of the popular premier of 
the last generation, George Canning.* Literature has its Slang 
terms ; and the desire on the part of writers to say funny and 
startling things in a novel and curious way contributes many 
unauthorized words to the great stock of Slang. 

Fashionable or Upper-class Slang is of several varieties. 
There is the Belgravian, military and naval, parliamentary, dandy, 
and the reunion and visiting Slang. English officers, civilians, 
and their families, who have resided long in India, have con- 
tributed many terms from the Hindostanee to our language. 
Several of these, such as " chit," a letter, and " tiffin," lunch, are 
fast losing their Slang character, and becoming regularly-recog- 
nised English words. " Jungle," as a term for a forest or 
wilderness, is now an English phrase ; a few years past, how- 
tver, it was merely the Hindostanee " junkul." This, being a 
perfectly legal transition, having no other recognised form, can 
hardly be characterized as Slang. The extension of trade in 
China, and the English settlement of Hong Kong, have intro- 
duced among us several examples of Canton jargon, that 
exceedingly curious Anglo-Chinese dialect spoken in the sea- 
ports of the Celestial Empire. While these words have been 
carried as it were into the families of the upper and middle 

* This latter is, as I take it, an error, as the sign was originally in- 
tended to represent the king's head and cross guns, and may still be seen 
in parts of the country. ED. 


classes, persons in a humbler rank of life, through the sailors 
and soldiers and Lascar and Chinese beggars that haunt the 
metropolis, have also adopted many Anglo-Indian and Anglo- 
Chinese phrases. As this dictionary would have been incom- 
plete without them, they are carefully recorded in its pages. 
Concerning the Slang of the fashionable world, it has been 
remarked that it is mostly imported from France ; and that an 
unmeaning gibberish of Gallicisms runs through English 
fashionable conversation and fashionable novels, and accounts 
of fashionable parties in the fashionable newspapers. Yet, 
ludicrously enough, immediately the fashionable magnates of 
England seize on any French idiom, the French themselves not 
only universally abandon it to us, but positively repudiate it 
altogether from their idiomatic vocabulary. If you were to 
tell a well-bred Frenchman that such and such an aristocratic 
marriage was on the tapis, he would stare with astonishment, 
and look down on the carpet in the startled endeavour to find 
a marriage in so unusual a place. If you were to talk to him 
of the beau monde, he would imagine you meant the world 
which God made, not half-a-dozen streets and squares between 
Hyde Park Corner and Chelsea Bun House. The th'e dansant 
would be completely inexplicable to him. If you were to 
point out to him the Dowager Lady Grimgriffin acting as 
chaperon to Lady Amanda Creamville, he would imagine you 
were referring to \hzpctit Chaperon rouge to little Red-Riding 
Hood. He might just understand what was meant by vis-a-vis, 
entremets, and some others of the flying horde of frivolous little 
foreign slangisms hovering about fashionable cookery and 
fashionable furniture ; but three-fourths of them would seem to 
him as barbarous French provincialisms, or, at best, but as 
antiquated and obsolete expressions, picked out of the letters 
of Mademoiselle Scuderi, or the tales of Crebillon "the younger." 
Servants, too, appropriate the scraps of French conversation 
which fall from their masters' guests at the dinner table, and 
forthwith in the world of flunkeydom the word "know" is dis- 


used, and the lady's-maid, in doubt on a particular point, asks 
John whether or no he " saveys" it ?* What, too, can be more 
abominable than that heartless piece of fashionable newspaper 
Slang, regularly employed when speaking of the successful 
courtship of young people in the aristocratic world : 

MARRIAGE IN HIGH LIFE. We understand that a maniage is 
ARRANGED (!) betwixt the Lady, &c. &c., and the Honourable, &c. &c. 

" Arranged !" Is that cold-blooded Smithfield or Mark Lane 
term for a sale or a purchase the proper word to express the 
hopeful, joyous, golden union of young and trustful hearts ? 
Possibly, though, the word is often used with a due regard to 
facts, for marriages, especially amongst our upper classes, are 
not always " made in heaven." Which is the proper way to 
pronounce the names of great people, and what the correct 
authority ? Lord Cowper, we are often assured, is Lord Cooper 
on this principle Lord Cowley would certainly be Lord 
Cooley and Mr. Carew, we are told, should be Mr. Carey, 
Ponsonby should be Punsunby, Eyre should be Aire, Chol- 
mondeley should be Chumley, St. John Sin/en, Beauchamp 
should be Beachem, Majoribanks Marshbanks, and Powell 
should always be PoeL The pronunciation of proper names 
has long been an anomaly in the conversation of the upper 
classes of this country. Hodge and Podge, the clodhoppers of 
Shakspeare's time, talked in their mug-houses of the great 
Lords Darbie, Barkdie, and Bartie. In Pall Mall and May 
Fair these personages are spoken of in exactly the same 
manner at the present day, whilst in the City, and amongst the 
middle classes, we only hear of Derby, Berkeley, &c., the cor- 
rect pronunciations, if the spelling is worth aught. It must not 
be forgotten, however, that the pronunciation of the upper 
classes, as regards the names of places just mentioned, is a 
relic of old times when the orthography was different The 

* Savez-vous cela ? [I fancy this is from the Spanish sabe. The word is 
in great use in the Pacific States of America, and is obtained through con- 
stant intercourse with the original settlers. ED.] 


middle-class man is satisfied to take matters the modern way, 
but even he, when he wishes to be thought a swell, alters his 
style. In fact, the old rule as to proper names being pro- 
nounced according to individual taste, is, and ever will be, of 
absolute necessity, not only as regards the upper and middle, 
but the lower classes. A costermonger is ignorant of such a 
place as Birmingham, but understands you in a moment if you 
talk of Brummagem. Why do not Pall Mall exquisites join 
with the costermongers in this pronunciation? It is the 
ancient one.* 

Parliamentary Slang, excepting a few peculiar terms con- 
nected with " the House" (scarcely Slang), is mainly composed 
of fashionable, literary, and learned Slang. When members 
get excited, and wish to be forcible, they are now and again, 
but not very often, found guilty of vulgarisms, and then may be 
not particular which of the street terms they select, providing 
it carries, as good old Dr. South said, plenty of " wildfire" in 
it Lord Cairns when Sir Hugh, and a member of the Lower 
House, spoke of " that homely but expressive phrase, 'dodge.' " 
Out of " the House," several Slang terms are used in connexion 
with Parliament or members of Parliament. If Lord Palmer- 
ston was familiar by name to the tribes of the Caucasus and 
Asia Minor as a great foreign diplomatist, when the name of 
our Queen was unknown to the inhabitants of those parts as 
was once stated in the Times it is worthy of remark that, 
amongst the costers and the wild inhabitants of the streets, he 
was at that time better known as " Pam." The cabmen on 
the " ranks" in Piccadilly have been often heard to call each 

* At page 24 of a curious old Civil War tract, entitled, The Oxonian 
Antippodes, by I. B., Gent., 1644, the town is called Brummidgham, and 
this was the general rendering in the printed literature of the seventeenth 
century. [This must have been the first known step towards the present 
vulgar style of spelling, for properly the word is Bromwich-ham, which has 
been corrupted into Brummagem, a term used to express worthless or 
inferior goods, from the spurious jewellery, plate, &c., manufactured there 
expressly for "duffers." ED.] 


other's attention to the great leader of the Opposition in the 
following expressive manner " Hollo, there ! de yer see old 
' Dizzy' doing a stump ?" A " plumper" is a single vote at an 
election not a " split-ticket ;" and electors who had occupied 
a house, no matter how small, and boiled a pot in it, thus 
qualifying themselves for voting, used in the good old days to 
be termed ' ' potwallopers." A quiet " walk over" is a re-elec- 
tion without opposition and much cost ; and is obtained from 
the sporting vocabulary, in which the term is not Slang. A 
" caucus" meeting refers to the private assembling of politicians 
before an election, when candidates are chosen, and measures 
of action agreed upon. The term comes from America, where 
caucus means a meeting simply. A "job," in political 
phraseology, is a Government office or contract obtained by 
secret influence or favouritism; and is not a whit more objec- 
tionable in sound than is the nefarious proceeding offensive to 
the sense of those who pay but do not participate. The Times 
once spoke of " the patriotic member of Parliament ' potted 
out' in a dusty little lodging somewhere about Bury Street" 
But then the Times was not always the mildly respectable high- 
class paper it now is, as a reference to the columns devoted by 
it to Macaulay's official career will alone determine. These, 
which appeared during the present reign, would be far below 
the lowest journalistic taste nowadays ; yet they are in keeping 
with the rest of the political references made at that time by the 
now austere and high-principled " leading journal." The term 
" quockerwodger," although referring to a wooden toy figure 
which jerks its limbs about when pulled by a string, has been 
supplemented with a political meaning. A pseudo-politician, 
whose strings of action are pulled by somebody else, is often 
termed a " quockerwodger." From an early period politics 
and partyism have attracted unto themselves quaint Slang 
terms. Horace Walpole quotes a party nickname of February, 
1742, as a Slang word of the day: "The Tories declare 
against any further prosecution, if Tories there are, for now one 


hears of nothing but the ' broad-bottom ;' it is the reigning 
Cant word, and means the taking all parties and people, 
indifferently, into the Ministry." Thus " broad-bottom" in 
those days was Slang for " coalition." The term " rat," too, in 
allusion to rats deserting vessels about to sink, has long been 
employed towards those turncoat politicians who change their 
party for interest. Who that occasionally passes near the 
Houses of Parliament has not often noticed stout or careful 
M.P.'s walk briskly through the Hall, and on the kerb-stone in 
front, with umbrella or walking-cane uplifted, shout to the cab- 
men on the rank, " Four-wheeler !" The term is both useful 
and expressive ; but it is none the less Slang, though of a 
better kind than " growler," used to denominate the same kind 
of vehicle, or " shoful," the street term for a hansom cab. 

Military Slang is on a par, and of a character, with dandy 
Slang. Inconvenient friends, or elderly and lecturing relatives, 
are pronounced " dreadful bores." This affectionate term, 
like most other Slang phrases which have their rise in a certain 
section of society, has spread and become of general appli- 
cation. Four-wheeled cabs are called " bounders ;" and a 
member of the Four-in-hand Club, driving to Epsom on the 
Derby Day, would, using fashionable phraseology, speak of it 
as " tooling his drag down to the Derby." A vehicle, if not a 
" drag" (or dwag), is a <: trap," or a " cask ;" and if the " turn- 
out" happens to be in other than a trim condition, it is 
pronounced at once as not " down the road," unless the critic 
should prefer to characterize the equipage as " dickey." Your 
City swell would say it is not " up to the mark ;" whilst the 
costermonger would call it a " wery snide affair." In the army 
a barrack or military station is known as a " lobster-box ;" to 
" cram" for an examination is to " mug-up" (this same terra 
is much in vogue among actors, who regard mugging-up as one 
of the fine arts of the profession) ; to reject from the exami- 
nation is to " spin ;" and that part of the barrack oc.cupied by 
subalterns is frequently spoken of as the " rookery." In dandy 


or swell Slang, any celebrity, from the Poet-Laureate to the 
Pope of Rome, is a " swell," " the old swell" now occupies 
the place once held by the "guv'nor." Wrinkled-faced old 
professors, who hold dress and fashionable tailors in abhor- 
rence, are called " awful swells," if they happen to be very 
learned or clever. In this upper-class Slang, a title is termed 
a " handle ;" trousers, " inexpressibles," and bags, or " howling 
bags," when of a large pattern ; a superior appearance, or 
anything above the common cut, is styled " extensive ;" a four- 
wheeled cab is called a " birdcage ;" a dance, a " hop ;" dining 
at another man's table, " sitting under his mahogany ;" any- 
thing flashy or showy, " loud ;" the peculiar make or cut of a 
coat, its " build ;" full dress, " full fig ;" wearing clothes which 
represent the very extreme of fashion, " dressing to death ;" a 
dinner or supper party, a " spread ;" a friend (or a " good 
fellow"), a " trump /' a difficulty, a " screw loose ;" and 
everything that is unpleasant, " from bad sherry to a writ from 
a tailor," "jeuced infernal" The phrase, "to send a man 
to Coventry," or permit no person " in the set" to speak to 
him, although an ancient saying, must still be considered 

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and the great 
public schools, are the hotbeds of fashionable Slang. Growing 
boys and high-spirited young fellows detest restraint of all 
kinds, and prefer making a dash at life in a Slang phraseology 
of their own to all the set forms and syntactical rules of Alma 
Mater. Many of the most expressive words in a common 
chit-chat, or free-and-easy conversation, are old university vul- 
garisms. " Cut," in the sense of dropping an acquaintance, was 
originally a Cambridge form of speech ; and " hoax," to deceive 
or ridicule, we are informed by Grose, was many years since an 
Oxford term. Among the words that fast society has borrowed 
from our great scholastic not establishments (they are sacred 
to linendrapery and " gentlemanly assistants") institutions, is 
found " crib," a house or apartments ; " dead men," empty wine 


bottles ; " drawing teeth,"* wrenching off knockers, an obso- 
lete amusement ; " fizzing," first-rate, or splendid ; " governor," 
or " relieving-officer," the general term for a male parent; 
" plucked," defeated or turned back, now altered to " plough ;" 
" quiz," to scrutinize, or a prying old fellow ; and " row," a noisy 
disturbance. The Slang words in use at Oxford and Cambridge 
would alone fill a volume. As examples let us take " scout," 
which at Oxford refers to an undergraduate's valet, whilst the 
same menial at Cambridge is termed a " gyp," popularly de- 
rived by the Can tabs from the Greek, yty, a vulture ; " skull," 
the head, or master, of a college ; " battles," the Oxford term 
for rations, changed at Cambridge into " commons." The term 
" dickey," a half-shirt, it is said, originated with the students of 
Trinity College, Dublin, who at first styled it a "tommy," 
from the Greek TO/XI), a section, the change from " tommy" to 
" dickey" requires no explanation. " Crib," a literal translation, 
is now universal ; " grind" refers to " working up" for an exami- 
nation, also to a walk or " constitutional ;" " Hivite" is a 
student of St. Begh's (St Bee's) College, Cumberland; to 
" japan," in this Slang speech, is to ordain ; " mortar board" is 
a square college cap ; " sim," a student of a Methodistical turn 
in allusion to the Rev. Charles Simeon ; " sloggers," at Cam- 
bridge, refers to the second division of race-boats, known at 
Oxford as " torpids ;" " sport" is to show or exhibit ; " trotter" 
is the jocose term for a tailor's man who goes round for orders ; 
and " tufts" are privileged students who dine with the " dons," 
and are distinguished by golden tufts, or tassels, in their caps. 
Hence we get the world-wide Slang term "tuft-hunter," one 
vhose pride it is to be acquainted with scions of the nobility 
a sycophantic race unfortunately not confined to any particular 
place or climate, nor peculiar to any age or either sex. There 

* This was more especially an amusement with medical students, after 
ihe modern Mohocks had discarded it. The students are now a compara- 
tively mild and quiet race, with very little of the style of a generation ago 
about them. 


are many terms in use at Oxford not known at Cambridge ; and 
such Slang names as " coach," " gulf," " harry-soph," " poker," 
or " post-mortem," common enough at Cambridge, are seldom 
or never heard at the great sister University. For numerous 
other examples of college Slang the reader is referred to the 

Religious Slang, strange as the compound may appear, exists 
with other descriptions of vulgar speech at the present day. 
Punch, in one of those half-humorous, half-serious articles, 
once so characteristic of the wits engaged on that paper, who 
were, as a rule, fond of lecturing any national abuse or 
popular folly, remarked " Slang has long since penetrated into 
the Forum, and now we meet it in the Senate, and even the 
pulpit itself is no longer free from its intrusion." There is no 
wish here, for one moment, to infer that the practice is general. 
On the contrary, and in justice to the clergy, it must be said 
that the principal disseminators of pure English throughout the 
country are the ministers of our Established Church. Yet it 
cannot be denied that a great deal of Slang phraseology 
and expressive vulgarism have gradually crept into the very 
pulpits which should give forth as pure speech as doctrine. 
This is an error which, however, has only to be noticed, to be 

Dean Conybeare, in his able " Essay on Church Parties,"* 
has noticed this addition of Slang to our pulpit speech. As 
stated in his Essay, the practice appears to confine itself mainly 
to the exaggerated forms of the High and Low Church the 
Tractarians and the " Recordites."f By way of illustration, the 
Dean cites the evening parties, or social meetings, common 
amongst the wealthier lay members of the Recordite churches, 
where the principal topics discussed one or more favourite 
clergymen being present in a quasi-official manner are " the 

* Edinburgh Review, October, 1853. 

t A term derived from the Record newspaper, the exponent of this sin- 
gular section of the Low. or so-called Evangelical Church,, 


merits and demerits of different preachers, the approaching re- 
storation of the Jews, the date of the Millennium, the pro- 
gress of the ' Tractarian heresy,' and the anticipated ' perversion' 
of High Church neighbours." These subjects are canvassed in 
a dialect differing considerably from English, as the word is 
generally understood. The terms " faithful," " tainted," " accep- 
table," " decided," " legal," and many others, are used in a sense 
different from that given to any of them by the lexicographers. 
We hear that Mr. A. has been more "owned" than Mr. B. ; and 
that Mr. C. has more " seals" * than Mr. D. Again, the word 
"gracious" is invested with a meaning as extensive as that 
attached by young ladies to nice. Thus, we hear of a "gracious 
sermon," a " gracious meeting," a " gracious child," and even a 
" gracious whipping." The word " dark" has also a new and 
peculiar usage. It is applied to every person, book, or place 
not impregnated with Recordite principles. A ludicrous mis- 
understanding resulting from this phraseology is on record (this 
is not a joke). " What did you mean," said A. to B., " by tell- 
ing me that was such a very ' dark' village ? I rode over 

there to-day, and found the street particularly broad and cheer- 
ful, and there is not a tree in the place." " The gospel is not 
preached there," was B's. laconic reply. The conclusion of 
one of these singular evening parties is generally marked by 
an "exposition" an unseasonable sermon of nearly one hour's 
duration, circumscribed by no text, and delivered from the table 
by one of the clerical visitors with a view to " improve the 
occasion." This same term, " improve the occasion," is of 
Slang slangy, and is so mouthed by Stigginses and Chadbands, 
and their followers, that it has become peculiarly objectionable 
to persons of broad views. In the Essay to which reference 
has been made, the religious Slang terms for the two great 
divisions of the Established Church receive some explanation. 

* A preacher is said, in this phraseology, to be " owned" when he mnkes 
many converts, and his converts are called his "seals." This is Caut ill its 
P**** -objectionable form. 



The old-fashioned High Chuich party rich and "stagnant," 
noted for its " sluggish mediocrity, hatred of zeal, dread of inno- 
'ation, abuse of Dissent, blundering and languid utterance" 
is called the " high and dry ;" whilst the opposing division, 
known as the Low Church equally stagnant with the former, 
but poorer, and more lazily inclined (from absence of educa- 
tion) towards Dissent receives the nickname of the " low and 
slow." These terms are among persons learned in the distinc- 
tions shortened, in ordinary conversation, to the " dry" and the 
"slow." The Broad Church, or moderate division, is often 
spoken of as the " broad and shallow." 

What can be more objectionable than the irreverent and 
offensive manner in which many Dissenting ministers con- 
tinually pronounce the names of the Deity God and Lord ? 
God, instead of pronouncing in the plain and beautiful simple 
old English way, " G-o-d," they drawl out into " Gorde " or 
" Gaude " and Lord, instead of speaking in the proper way, 
they desecrate into " Loard" or " Loerd," lingering on the u, 
or the r y as the case may be, until an honest hearer feels dis- 
gusted, and almost inclined to run the gauntlet of beadlea 
and deacons, and pull the vulgar preacher from his pulpit. This 
is, though a Christian impulse, hardly in accordance with 
our modern times and tolerant habits. Many young preacher* 
strive hard to acquire this peculiar pronunciation, in imitation 
of the older ministers. What, then, can more properly be called 
Slang, or, indeed, the most objectionable of Slang, than this 
studious endeavour to pronounce the most sacred names in a 
uniformly vulgar and unbecoming manner ? If the old-fashioned 
preacher whistled Cant through his nose, the modern vulgar 
reverend whines Slang from the more natural organ. These 
vagaries of speech will, perhaps, by an apologist, be termed 
" pulpit peculiarities," and the writer may be impugned for 
having dared to intermeddle with a subject that is or should 
be removed from his criticisms. Honesty of purpose and 
evident truthfulness of remark will, however, overcome the 


most virulent opposition. The terms used by the mob towards 
the Church, however illiberal and satirically vulgar, are fairly 
within the province of an inquiry such as the present. A 
clergyman, in vulgar language, is spoken of as a " choker," a 
"cushion-thumper," a "dominie," an "earwig," a "gospel- 
grinder," a " grey-coat parson ;" a " spouter," a " white-choker," 
or a " warming-pan rector," if he only holds the living pro 
tempore. If he is a lessee of the great tithes, "one in 
ten ;" or if spoken of by an Anglo-Indian, a " rook." If a 
Tractarian, his outer garment is rudely spoken of as a 
" pygostole," or " M. B. (mark of the beast) coat." His pro- 
fession is termed "the cloth" (this item of Slang has been 
already referred to), and his practice is called "tub-thump- 
ing." This latter term has of late years been almost peculiarly 
confined to itinerant preachers. Should he belong to the Dis 
senting body, he is probably styled a " pantiler," or a " psalm 
smiter," or perhaps, a " swaddler."* His chapel, too, is spoken 
of as a " schism shop." A Roman Catholic is coarsely named 
a " brisket-beater." 

Particular as lawyers generally are about the meanings of 
words, they have not prevented an unauthorized phraseology 
from arising, which may be termed legal Slang. So forcibly did 
this truth impress a late writer, that he wrote in a popular 
journal, " You may hear Slang every day in term from barristers 
in their robes, at every mess-table, at every bar-mess, at every 
college commons, and in every club dining-room." Swift, in his 
Art of Polite Conversation (p. 15), published a century and a 
half ago, states that " vardi" was the Slang in his time for 

* " Swaddler" is also a phrase by which the low Irish Roman Catholics 
denominate those of their body who in winter become Protestants, pro tern. , 
for the sake of the blankets, coals, &c., given by proselytizing Protestants. 
It is hard to say which are the worse, those who refuse to give unless the 
objects of their charity become converted, or those who sham conversion to 
save themselves from starving, or the tender mercies of the relieving officer. 
I am much afraid my sympathies are with the " swaddlers," who are also 
called "soupers." ED. 


" verdict." A few of the most common and well-known terms 
used out of doors, with reference to legal matters, are " cook," 
to hash or make up a balance-sheet ; " dipped," mortgaged ; 
" dun" (from a famous writ or process-server named Dunn), to 
solicit payment ; " fullied," to be " fully committed for trial ;" 
" land shark," a sailor's definition of a lawyer ; " limb of the 
law," a milder term for the same " professional ;" " monkey with 
a long tail," a mortgage; "mouthpiece," the thief's term for 
his counsel ; " to run through the ring," to take advantage of 
the Insolvency Act ; " smash," to become bankrupt ; " snipe," 
an attorney with a long bill ; and " whitewash," to take the 
benefit of the Insolvent Act. Comparatively recent legislation 
has rendered many of these terms obsolete, and "in liquida- 
tion " is now the most ominous sound a creditor can hear. 
Lawyers, from their connexion with the police courts, and trans- 
actions with persons in every grade of society, have ample 
opportunities for acquiring street Slang, of which, in cross- 
questioning and wrangling, they frequently avail themselves. 

It has been said there exists a literary Slang, or the Slang of 
Criticism dramatic, artistic, and scientific. This is composed 
of such words as "aesthetic," " transcendental," "the harmonies," 
"the unities," a "myth:" such phrases as "an exquisite morceau 
on the big drum," a " scholarlike rendering of John the Baptist's 
great toe," "keeping harmony," "middle distance," "aerial per- 
spective," " delicate handling," " nervous chiaroscuro," and the 
like. It is easy to find fault with this system of doing work, whilst 
it is not easy to discover another at once so easily understood by 
educated readers, and so satisfactory to artists themselves. Dis- 
cretion must, of course, always be used, in fact always is used 
by the best writers, with regard to the quantity of technical 
Slang an article will hold comfortably. Overdone mannerism 
is always a mistake, and generally defeats its own end. Pro- 
perly used, these technicalities are allowable as the generous in- 
flections and bendings of a bountiful language, for the purpose 
of expressing fresh phases of thought, and idea* "^ot yet pro- 


vided with representative words.* Punch often employs a 
Slang term to give point to a joke, or humour to aline of satire. 
In his best day he gave an original etymology of the schoolboy- 
ism " slog." " Slog," said the classical and then clever Punch, 
is derived from the Greek word " slogo," to baste, to wallop, to 
slaughter. To show his partiality to the subject, he once amused 
his readers with two columns on Slang and Sanscrit, from which 
the following is taken : 

" The allegory which pervades the conversation of all Eastern nations is 
the foundation of Western Slang ; and the increased number of students of 
the Oriental languages, especially since Sanscrit and Arabic have been 
made subjects for the Indian Civil Service examinations, may have contri- 
buted to supply the English language with a large portion of its new dialect. 
While, however, the spirit of allegory comes from the East, there is so great a 
difference between the brevity of Western expression and the more cumbrous 
diction of the Oriental, that the origin of a phrase becomes difficult to 
trace. Thus, for instance, whilst the Turkish merchant might address his 
friend somewhat as follows ' That which seems good to my father is to his 
servant as the perfumed breath of the west wind in the calm night of the 
Arabian summer;' the Western negotiator observes more briefly, 'all 
serene !' " "f 
But the vulgar term, " brick," Punch remarks in illustration, 

"must be allowed to be an exception, its Greek derivation being univer- 
sally admitted, corresponding so exactly as it does in its rectangular form 
and compactness to the perfection of manhood, according to the views of 
Plato and Simonidf s ; but any deviation from the simple expression, in 
which locality is indicated as, for instance, ' a genuine Bath' decidedly 
breathes the Oriental spirit." 

It is singular that what Punch says unwittingly and in 

* "All our newspapers contain more or less colloquial words ; in fact, 
there seems no other way of expressing certain ideas connected with passing 
events of every-day life with the requisite force and piquancy. In the 
inglish newspapers the same thing is observable, and certain of them con- 
jain more of the class denominated Slang words than our own." Bartletfs 
Americanisms, p. 10, edit. 1859. 

t When this appeared, "all serene" was one of those street phrases 
Irhich periodically spring up, have their rage, and depart as suddenly as 
they come into popularity. These sayings are generally of a most idiotic 
nature, as their latest specimens, " I'll warm yer," " All serene," and 
" I'll 'ave your hi" used without any premonitory notice or regard to 
context, and screeched out at the top of the voice will testify. I suppose 
we shall soon have another of these " ebullitions of popular feeling." Eu. 

F 3 


humour respecting the Slang expression "bosh," should be 
quite true. " Bosh," remarks Punch, after speaking of it as be- 
longing to the stock of words pilfered from the Turks, " is one 
whose innate force and beauty the slangographer is reluctantly 
compelled to admit It is the only word which seems a proper 
appellation for a great deal which we are obliged to hear and to 
read every day of our life." " Bosh," nonsense or stupidity, 
is derived from the Gipsy and the Persian. The universality 
of Slang is proved by its continual use in the pages of Punch. 
Who ever thinks, unless belonging to a past generation, of asking 
a friend to explain the stray vulgar words employed by the 
London Charivari f Some of the jokes, though, might nowadays 
\e accompanied by explanatory notes, in similar style to that 
Adopted by youthful artists who write "a man," "a horse," &c., 
when rather uncertain as to whether or not their efforts will 
meet with due appreciation. 

The Athenaum, the Saturday Review, and other kindred 
" weeklies," often indulge in Slang words when force of expres- 
sion or a little humour is desired, or when the various writers 
wish to say something which is better said in Slang, or so-called 
vulgar speech, than in the authorized language. Bartlett, the 
compiler of the Dictionary of Americanisms, continually cites 
the Athenaum as using Slang and vulgar expressions ; but the 
magazine the American refers to is not the literary journal of 
the present day, it was a smaller, and now defunct, " weekly." 
The present possessor of the classic title is, though, by no means 
behindhand in its devotion to colloquialisms. Many other 
highly respectable journals often use Slang words and phrases. 
The Times (or, in Slang, the " Thunderer") frequently employs 
unauthorized terms ; and, following a " leader" * of the purest 
and most eloquent composition, may sometimes be seen another 
" article" * on a totally different subject, containing, perhaps, a 

* The terms "leader" and "article" can scarcely be called Slang, yet it 
Xould be desirable to know upon what authority they were first employed 
ji their present peculiar sense. 


score or more of exceedingly questionable words. Among the 
words and phrases which may be included under the head of 
Literary Slang are, " balaam," matter kept constantly in type 
about monstrous productions of nature, to fill up spaces in 
newspapers ; " balaam-box," the term given in Blackwood to 
the repository for rejected articles ; and " slate," to pelt with 
abuse, or " cut up" in a review. " He's the fellow to slate a 
piece" is often said of dramatic critics, especially of those who 
through youth, inexperience, and the process of unnatural selec- 
tion which causes them to be critics, imagine that to abuse all 
that is above their comprehension is to properly exercise the 
critical faculty. This is, however, dangerous ground. The 
Slang names given to newspapers are curious ; thus, the 
Morning Advertiser is known as the " Tap-tub," the " "Tizer," 
and was until recently the " Gin and Gospel Gazette." The 
Morning Post has obtained the suggestive sobriquet of " Jeames ;" 
whilst the Morning Herald was long caricatured as " Mrs. 
Harris," and the Standard as " Mrs. Gamp."* 

The Sfage, of course, has its Slang " both before and behind 
the curtain," as a journalist remarks. The stage-manager is 
familiarly termed " daddy ;" and an actor by profession, or a 
" professional," is called a " pro." It is amusing at times to 
hear a young actor who struts about padded with copies of all 
newspapers that have mentioned his name talking, in a mixed 
company, of the stage as the profession. This is after all but 
natural, for to him " all the world's a stage." A man who is occa- 
sionally hired at a trifling remuneration to come upon the stage 
as one of a crowd, or when a number of actors are wanted to 
give effect, is named a " supe," an abbreviation of " super- 
numerary." A " surf" is a third-rate actor, who frequently 

* The Morning Herald was called "Mrs. Harris," because it was said 
that no one ever saw it, a peculiarity which, in common with its general 
disregard for veracity, made it uncommonly like " Mrs. Gamp's " invisible 
friend as portrayed by Dickens. But the Herald has long since departed 
this life, and with it has gone the title of " Mrs. Gamp," as applied to the 
Standard, which is, though, a* impulsive and Conservative as ever. ED, 


pursues another calling ; and the band, or orchestra between 
the pit and the stage, is generally spoken of as the " menagerie." 
A " ben" is a benefit ; and " sal" is the Slang abbreviation of 
" salary." Should no money be forthcoming on the Saturday 
night, it is said that the "ghost doesn't walk;" or else the 
statement goes abroad that there is " no treasury," as though 
the coffers themselves had departed. The travelling or pro- 
vincial theatricals, who perform in any large room that can be 
rented in a country village, are called " barn-stormers." A 
" length" is forty-two lines of any dramatic composition ; and 
a " run" is the continuous term of a piece's performance. A 
" saddle" is the additional charge made by a manager to an 
actor or actress upon his or her benefit night. To " mug up" 
is to paint one's face, or arrange the person, to represent a parti- 
cular character ; to " corpse," or to " stick," is to balk, or put the 
other actors out in their parts by forgetting yours. A perfor- 
mance is spoken of as either a " gooser" or a "screamer," should 
it be a failure or a great success ; if the latter, it is not infre- 
quently termed a " hit" To " goose" a performance is to hiss 
it ; and continued " goosing" generally ends, or did end before 
managers refused to accept the verdict of audiences, in the 
play or the players being " damned." To " star il" is to per- 
form as the centre of attraction, with your name in large type, 
*nd none but subordinates and indifferent actors in the same 
performance. The expressive term " clap-trap," high-sounding 
nonsense, is nothing but an ancient theatrical term, and signified 
a " trap" to catch a " clap" by way of applause. " Up amongst 
the ' gods,' " refers to being among the spectators in the gallery, 
termed in French Slang " paradis." 

There exists, too, in the great territory of vulgar speech what 
may not inappropriately be termed Civic Slang. It consists of 
mercantile and Stock Exchange terms, and the Slang of good 
living and wealth. A turkey hung with sausages is facetiously 
styled an " alderman in chains," a term which has spread from 
the City and become general ; and a half-crown, perhaps from 


its rotundity, is often termed an " alderman." A " bear" is a 
speculator on the Exchange; and a "bull," although of an 
opposite order, follows a like profession. There is something 
very humorous and applicable in the Slang term " lame duck," 
a defaulter in stock-jobbing speculations. The allusion to his 
'* waddling out of the Alley," as they say, is excellent " Break- 
ing shins," in City Slang, is borrowing money; a rotten or 
unsound scheme is spoken of as " fishy ;" " rigging the 
market" means playing tricks with it ; and " stag" was a 
common term during the railway mania for a speculator without 
capital, a seller of " scrip" in " Diddlesex Junction" and other 
equally safe lines. At Tattersall's a " monkey" is 5oo/., and in 
the City a "plum" is ioo,ooo/., and a "marygold" is one mil- 
lion sterling. But before proceeding further in a sketch of the 
different kinds of Slang, it may be as well to speak here of the 
extraordinary number of Cant and Slang terms in use to repre- 
sent money from farthings to bank-notes the value of fortunes. 
Her Majesty's coin, collectively or in the piece, is known by 
more than one hundred and thirty distinct Slang words, from 
the humble " brown" (a halfpenny) to " flimsies," or " long- 
tailed ones" (bank-notes). 

" Money," it has been well remarked, " the bare, simple word 
itself, has a sonorous, significant ring in its sound," and might 
have sufficed, one would have imagined, for all ordinary pur- 
poses, excepting, of course, those demanded by direct reference 
to specific sums. But a vulgar or " fast" society has thought 
differently; and so we have the Slang synonyms "beans," 
" blunt" (i.e., specie, not soft or rags, bank-notes), " brads," 
" brass," " bustle," " coppers" (copper money, or mixed pence), 
"chink," "chinkers," "chips," "corks," "dibbs," "dinarly," 
" dimmock," " dust," " feathers," " gent" (silver, from argent), 
"haddock" (a purse of money), "horse nails," "huckster," 
" leaver," " lour" (the oldest Cant term for money), " mopusses," 
"needful," "nobbings" (money collected in a hat by street- 
performers), " ochre" (gold), " pewter," " palm oil," " pieces," 


" posh," " queen's pictures," " quids," " rags" (bank-notes), 
" ready," or " ready gilt," " redge" (gold), " rhino," " rowdy," 
" shiners" (sovereigns), " skin" (a purse of money), " stiff" 
(checks, or bills of acceptance), " stuff," " stumpy," " tin* 
(silver), "wedge" (silver), and "yellow-boys" (sovereigns); 
just forty-three vulgar equivalents for the simple word money. 
So attentive is Slang speech to financial matters, that there are 
seven terms for bad, or "bogus," coin (as our friends the 
Americans call it) : a " case" is a counterfeit five-shilling piece y 
" half a case" represents half that sum ; " grays" are halfpence 
made specially for unfair gambling purposes ; " queer-soft" is 
counterfeit or lead coin ; " schofel" refers to coated or spurious 
coin ; " sheen" is bad money of any description ; and " sinkers" 
bears the same and not inappropriate meaning. " Snide" is 
now the generic term for all bad money, whether coined or in 
notes ; and " snide-pitching" or " schoful-tossing" is the term 
in use among the professors of that pursuit for what is more 
generally known as " smashing." " Flying the kite," or obtain- 
ing money on bills and promissory-notes, is closely connected 
with the allegorical expression of " raising the wind," which is 
a well-known phrase for procuring money by immediate sale, 
pledging, or by a forced loan. In winter or in summer any 
elderly gentleman who may have prospered in life is pronounced 
" warm ;" whilst an equivalent is immediately at hand in the 
phrase " his pockets are well lined," or " he is well breeched." 
Each separate piece of money has its own Slang term, and 
often half a score of synonyms. To begin with that extremely 
humble coin, a farthing : first we have " fadge," then " fiddler ;" 
then " gig," and lastly " quartereen^." A halfpenny is a " brown" 
or a " madzer (pronounced ' medzer') saltee" (Cant), or a 
" mag," or a " posh," or a " rap," whence the popular phrase, 
" I don't care a rap." The useful and universal penny has for 
Slang equivalents a " copper," a " saltee" (Cant), and a " winn." 
Twopence is a " deuce," and threepence is either " thrums" or 
"thrups." "Thrums" has a special peculiarity; for while 



" thmms-buskin" represents threepence-halfpenny, the term 
" buskin" is not used in connexion with any other number of 
pence. Fourpence, or a groat, may in vulgar speech be termed 
a " bit," a " flag," or a " joey." Sixpence is well represented in 
street talk, and some of the slangisms are very comical for 
instance, " bandy," " bender," " cripple," and " downer;" then 
we have " buck," " fye-b'ck," " half a hog," " kick" (thus " two 
and a 'kick,' " or zs. 6d.), " lord of the manor,"* " pig," "pot" 
(the price of a pot of ale thus half-a-crown is a " five ' pot' 
piece"), " snid," " sprat," " sow's baby," " tanner," tester," 
"tizzy," seventeen vulgar words to one coin. Sevenpence being 
an uncommon amount has only one Slang synonym, " setter." 
The same remark applies to eightpence and ninepence, the 
former being only represented by " otter," and the latter by the 
Cant phrase " nobba-saltee." Tenpence is " dacha-saltee," 
and elevenpence " dacha-one," both Cant expressions. It is 
noticeable that coined pieces, and sums which from their small- 
ness or otherwise are mostly in use, receive a commensurate 
amount of attention from promoters of Slang. One shilling 
boasts eleven Slang equivalents ; thus we have " beong," " bob," 
"breaky-leg," "deener," "gen" (from the back Slang), "hog," 
" levy," " peg," " stag," " teviss," and " twelver." One shilling 
and sixpence is a "kye," now and then an " eighteener." It is 
noticeable that so far the florin has escaped, and only receives 
the shilling titles with the required numeral adjective prefixed. 
Half-a-crown is known as an " alderman," " half a bull," " half 
a wheel," " half a tusheroon," and a " madza (medzer) 
caroon ;" whilst a crown piece, or five shillings, may be called 
either a " bull," a " caroon," a " cartwheel," or a " coachwheel," 
or, more generally than either, a " wheel" or a " tusheroon/ 
The word " dollar" is in general use among costermongers and 

* This is rhyming slang, and is corrupted into "lord " only. "Touch- 
tie," a common term for a shilling, is also derived from the same source, it 
being short for " touch-me-on-the-nob," which is rhyming slan<j for " bob " 
Or shilling. 


their customers, and signifies exactly five shillings. Any term 
representing this amount " takes in two," and represents the 
half-crown by the addition of the usual prefix. The next advance 
in Slang money is ten shillings, or half-a-sovereign, which may 
be either pronounced as " half a bean," " half a couter," " a 
madza poona," " half a quid," or " half a thick 'un." A sove- 
reign, or twenty shillings, is a "bean," "canary," "couter/ 
"foont," "goldfinch," "James*" (from Jacobus), "poona," 
" portrait," " quid," " thick-un," or " yellow-boy." Guineas 
are nearly obsolete, yet the terms " neds" and " half neds" are 
still in use. Bank-notes are " flimsies," " long-tailed ones," or 
" soft." A " fin," or a " finnuf," is a five-pound note. Twenty- 
five pounds is a " pony," and a hundred a " century." One 
hundred pounds (or any other " round sum"), quietly handed 
over as payment for services performed, is curiously termed " a 
' cool' hundred." Thus ends, with several necessary omissions, 
this long list of Slang terms for the coins of the realm which, 
for copiousness, it is not too much to say, is not equalled by 
any other vulgar or unauthorized language in Europe. 

The antiquity of many of these Slang names is remarkable. 
" Winn" was the vulgar term for a penny in the days of Queen 
Elizabeth ; and " tester," a sixpence (formerly a shilling), was 
the correct name in the days of Henry VIII. The reader, too, 
will have remarked the frequency of animals' names as Slang 
terms for money. Little, as a modern writer has remarked, 
do the persons using these phrases know of their remote and 
somewhat classical origin, which may, indeed, be traced to ?. 
period anterior to that when monarchs monopolized the sur- 
face of coined money with their own images and superscrip- 
tions. They are identical with the very name of money among 
the early Romans, which was pecunia, from pecus, a flock. The 
collections of coin-dealers amply show that the figure of a " hog" 
was anciently placed on a small silver coin ; and that that of 
a " bull" decorated larger ones of the same metal. These coins 
were frequently deeply crossed on the reverse j this was for the 


convenience of easily breaking them into two or more pieces, 
should the bargain for which they were employed require It, and 
the parties making it had no smaller change handy to com> 
plete the transaction. Thus we find that the " half bull* of 
the itinerant street-seller, or " traveller," so far from being 
a phrase of modern invention, a& is generally supposed, is in 
point of fact referable to an era extremely remote. This remark 
will safely apply to most descriptions of money; and it must 
not be forgotten that farthing is but a corruption of fourthing, 
or, literally, fourth part of a penny. The representative coin of 
the realm was often in olden times made to break up, but this 
by the way. It is a reminder, however, that the word " smash," 
as used by the classes that speak Slang from motives other than 
those of affectation, has nothing whatever to do with base coin, 
as is generally supposed. It simply means to give change. 
Thus : " Can you smash a thick "un for me ?" means simply, 
" Can you give me change for a sovereign ?" We learn from 
Erizzo, in his Discorso, a further illustration of the proverb 
" that there is nothing new under the sun ;" for he says that 
the Roman boys at the time of Hadrian tossed up their coppers 
and cried, " Head or ship ;" of which tradition our " heads or 
tails," and " man or woman," or " a tanner I heads 'em," is 
certainly a less refined version. We thence gather, however, 
that the prow of a vessel would appear to have been the more 
ordinary device of the reverse of the brass coin of that ancient 
period. There are many other Cant words directly from a 
classic source, as will be seen in the dictionary. 

Shopkeepers' Slang is perhaps the most offensive of all Slang, 
though this is not intended to imply that shopkeepers are per- 
haps the most offensive of people. This kind of Slang is not a 
casual eyesore, as newspaper Slang, neither is it an occasional 
discomfort to the ear, as in the case of some vulgar byword of 
the street ; but it is a perpetual nuisance, and stares you in the 
face on tradesmen's invoices, on labels in the shop-windows, 
and placards on the hoardings, in posters against the house next 


to your own if it happen to be empty for a few weeks and 
in bills thrust into your hand, as you peaceably walk through 
the streets. Under your door, and down your area, Slang hand- 
bills are dropped by some " pushing " tradesman ; and for the 
thousandth time you are called upon to learn that an " alarming 
sacrifice" is taking place in the next street ; that prices are "down 
again;" that, in consequence of some other tradesman not 
" driving a roaring trade," being in fact, " sold up," and for 
the time being a resident in " Burden's Hotel" (Whitecross- 
Street Prison), the " pushing " tradesman wishes to sell out at 
"awfully low prices," to "the kind patrons, and numerous custo- 
mers," &c. &c., " that have on every occasion," &c. &c. These 
are, though, very venial offenders compared with those ghouls, 
the advertising undertakers, who employ boys, loaded with 
ghastly little books, to follow up the parish doctor, and leave 
their horrible wares wherever he calls. But what can be expected 
of ignorant undertakers when a London newspaper of large cir- 
culation actually takes out the death records from the Time?, and 
sends a circular to each address therein, informing the bereaved 
persons that the " - " charges so much per line for similar 
notices, and that its circulation is most extensive ? Surely the 
typical " death-hunter," hardened though he may be, is hardly 
down to that level. In shopkeeping Slang any occupation 
r calling is termed a " line," thus, the " building line." A 
tailor usurps to himself a good deal of Slang. Amongst opera- 
tives he is called a " snip," a " steel-bar driver," a " cabbage 
contractor," or a " goose persuader ;" by the world, a " ninth 
part of a man ;" and by the young collegian, or " fast" man, a 
" sufferer." If he takes army contracts, it is " sank work ;" if 
he is a " slop" tailor, he is a " springer up," and his garments 
are " blown together." Perquisites with him are " spiffs," and 
remnants of cloth " peaking, or cabbage." The per-centage he 
allows to his assistants (or "counter jumpers") on the sale of old- 
fashioned articles is termed " tinge." If he pays his workmen in 
goods, or gives them tickets upon other tradesmen, with whom 


he shares the profit, he is soon known as a " tommy master." If 
his business succeeds, it " takes ;" if neglected, it becomes 
" shaky," and " goes to pot ;" if he is deceived by a debtor (a 
by no means unusual circumstance), he is " let in," or, as it is 
sometimes varied, " taken in." It need scarcely be remarked 
that any credit he may give is termed " tick." 

Operatives' or workmen's Slang, in quality, is but slightly re- 
moved from tradesmen's Slang. When belonging to the same 
shop or factory, they " graft" there, and are " brother chips." 
Among printers the favourite term is "comps," not compositors, 
though the same contraction is used for that word, but com- 
panions, whether so in actual fact, or as members of the same 
" companionship." A companionship is the number of men 
engaged on any one work, and this is in turn reduced to " ship :" 
sometimes it is a " 'stab ship," i.e., paid by the week, therefore 
on the establishment ; sometimes it is " on the piece," and any- 
how it is an extremely critical organization, so perhaps it would 
be better to broaden the subject. Workmen generally dine at 
" slap-bang shops," and are often paid at " tommy shops." At 
the nearest " pub," or public-house, they generally have a " score 
chalked up" against them, which has to be " wiped off" regu- 
larly on the Saturday night. This is often known as a " light." 
When credit is bad the " light " is said to be out When out 
of work, they describe themselves as being " out of collar." 
They term each other " flints" and " dungs," if they are " society" 
or " non-society" men. Their salary is a " screw," and to be 
discharged is to " get the sack," varied by the expression " get 
the bullet," the connexion of which with discharge is obvious, as 
the small lecturers those at the Polytechnic for instance say, 
to the meanest capacity. When they quit work, they " knock 
off;" and when out of employ, they ask if any " hands" are, 
or any assistance is, wanted. " Fat" is the vulgar synonym 
for perquisites ; " elbow grease" signifies labour ; and " Saint 
Monday" is the favourite day of the week. Names of animals 
figure plentifully in the workman's vocabulary ; thus we have 


"goose," a tailor's smoothing-iron; " sheep's-foot," an iron 
hammer ; " sow," a receptacle foi molten iron, whilst the metal 
poured from it is termed " pig." Many of the Slang terms for 
money may have originally come from the workshop, thus 
" brads," from the ironmonger ; " chips," from the carpenter ; 
" dust," from the goldsmith ; " feathers," from the upholsterer ; 
" horse-nails," from the farrier ; " haddock," from the fish- 
monger ; and "tanner and skin" from the leather-dresser. 

If society, as has been remarked, is a sham, from the vulgar 
foundation of commonalty to the crowning summit of royalty, 
then do we perceive the justness of the remark in that most 
peculiar of peculiarities, the Slang of makeshifts for oaths, and 
sham exclamations for passion and temper. These apologies 
for feeling are an addition to our vernacular, and though some 
argue that they are a disgrace, for the reason that no man 
should pretend to swear or curse who does not do so, it is some 
satisfaction to know that they serve the purpose of reducing 
the stock of national profanity. " You be blowed," or " I'll be 
blowed if," &c., is an exclamation often heard in the streets. 
" Blazes," or " like blazes," came probably from the army, 
unless, indeed, it came from the original metaphor, afterwards 
corrupted, to serve all turns, " to smoke like blazes." " Blast," 
too, although in general vulgar use, may have had an engineer- 
ing or military origin, and the phrase, " I wish I may be 
shot, if," smacks much of powder. " Blow me tight" is a very 
windy and common exclamation. The same may be said of 
" strike me lucky," " never trust me," and " so help me Davy ; H 
the latter being evidently derived from the truer old phrase, 
" I'll take my Davy on't i.e., my affidavit, " Davy," and some- 
times " Alfred Davy," being a corruption of that word. " By 
Golly," " Gol darn it," and " so help" generally pronounced 
" selp" or " swelp" " me Bob," are evident shams for profane 
oaths. " Tarnation" is but a softening of damnation ; and " od, w 
whether used in " od drat it," or " od's blood," is but an 
Apology for the name of the Deity. " Marry," a term of asse~ 


reration in common use, was originally, in Popish times, a mode 
of swearing by the Virgin Mary ; so also " marrow-bones," for 
the knees. " I'll bring him down upon his marrow-bones," 
i.f., I'll make him bend his knees as he does to the Virgin 
Mary. The Irish phrase, " Bad scran to yer !" is equivalent to 
wishing a person bad food. " I'm sniggered if you will," and " I'm 
jiggered," are other mild forms of swearing among men fearful 
of committing an open profanity, yet slily nibbling at the sin. 
Maybe, some day one of these adventurers will meet with the 
object of his desires, and then when fairly "jiggered," whatever 
it may ultimately turn out to be, it is to be hoped he will prove 
a fearful example to all persons with the will, but not the pluck, 
to swear fierce oaths. Both " deuce" and " dickens" are vulgar 
old synonyms for the devil ; and " zounds" is an abbreviation 
of " God's wounds," a very ancient oath. 

In a casual survey of the territory of Slang, it is curious to 
observe how well represented are the familiar wants and failings 
of life. First, there is money, with one hundred and odd 
Slang terms and synonyms ; then comes drink, from small 
beer to champagne ; and next as a very natural sequence, in- 
toxication, and fuddlement generally, with some half a hundred 
vulgar terms, graduating the scale of drunkenness, from a slight 
inebriation to the soaky state which leads to the gutter, some- 
times to the stretcher, the station-house, the fine, and, most 
terrible of all, the " caution." The Slang synonyms for mild 
intoxication are certainly very choice, they are "beery," 
" bemused," " boozy," " bosky," " buffy," " corned," "foggy," 
"fou," "fresh," "hazy," "elevated," "kisky," " lushy," 
" moony," " muggy," " muzzy," " on," " screwed," " stewed," 
"tight," and "winey." A higher or more intense state of 
beastliness is represented by the expressions, " podgy," " be- 
argered," "blued," "cut," "primed," "lumpy," "ploughed," 
"muddled," "obfuscated," "swipey," "three sheets in the wind," 
and " top-heavy." But the climax of fuddlement is only obtained 
when the " disguised" individual " can't see a hole in a ladder," 


or when he is all " mops and brooms," or " off his nut," or with 
his " main-brace welJ spliced," or with the " sun in his eyes," 
or when he has " lapped the gutter," and got the " gravel rash," 
or is on the " ran-tan," or on the " ree-raw," or when " sewed 
up," and regularly " scammered," then, and not till then, is he 
enroled, in vulgar society, to the title of " lushington," or re- 
commended to " put in the pin," ;>., # linch-pin, to keep hia 




A 1, first-rate, the very best ; " she's a prime girl, she is ; she is A i." 
Sum Slick. The highest classification of ships at Lloyd's ; common 
term in the United States ; also at Liverpool and other English sea- 
ports. Another, even more intensitive form is " first-class, letter A, 
No. I." Some people choose to say A I, for no reason, however, 
beyond that of being different from others. 

Abigail, a lady's-maid ; perhaps obtained from old comedies. Used in 
an uncomplimentary sense. Some think the term is derived from 
Abigail Hill (Mrs. Masham), lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne, and a 
typical ABIGAIL in the way of intrigue. 

About Right, "to do the thing ABOUT RIGHT," *.*., to do it properly, 
soundly, correctly ; " he guv it 'im ABOUT RIGHT," i.e., he beat him 

Abraham- man. a vagabond, such as were driven to beg about the 
country after the dissolution of the monasteries. See BESS O* BEDLAM, 
infra. They are well described under the title of Bedlam Beggars. 
ShakspearJs K. Lear, ii. 3. 

" And these, what name or title e'er they bear, 
Jarkman, or Patrico, Cranke, or Clapper-dudgeon, 
Frater, or ABRAM-MAN ; I speak to all 
That stand in fair election for the title 
Of king of beggars." Beaumont atul Fletcher's Begg. Bush, U. x. 

It appears to have been the practice in former days to allow certain 
inmates of Bethlehem Hospital to have fixed days "to go begging :" 
hence impostors were said to " SHAM ABRAHAM " (the Abrahans Ward 
in Bedlam having for its inmates these mendicant lunatics) when they 
pretended they were licensed beggars in behalf of the hospital. 

Abraham-sham, or SHAM ABRAHAM, to feign sickness or distress. 
From ABRAHAM-MAN, the ancient Cant term for a begging impostor, 
or one who pretended to have been mad. Burton's Anatomy of 
Melancholy, vol. i. p. 360. When Abraham Newland was Cashier to 
the Bank of England, and signed their notes, it was sung : 

" I have heard people say 

That SHAM ABRAHAM you may, 
But you mustn't SHAM ABRAHAM Newlaad." 

Against the Grain, in opposition to the wish. " It 
THE GRAIN to do it, but I knew I must," is a common 


Absquatulate, to run away, or abscond ; a hybrid American 
sion, from the Latin ab, and " squat " to settle. 

Acres, a coward. From Bob Acres, in Sheridan's Rivals, 
Adam's Ale, water. English. The Stotch term is ADAM'S WINE. 

Added to the List, a euphuism current among sporting writer* 
implying that a horse has been gelded. As, " Sabinus has been 
ADDED TO THE LIST." Another form of expression in reference to 
this matter is that "the knife has been brought into requisition." 
"ADDED TO THE LIST" is simply a contraction for "added to the list 
of geldings in training." 

Addlepate, a foolish fellow, a dullard. 

Admiral of the Red, a person whose very red face evinces a fondness 
for strong potations. 

Affygraphy. " It fits to an AFFYGRAPHY," i.e., to a nicety to a T. 

Afternoon Farmer, one who wastes his best opportunity, and drives 
off the large end of his work to the little end of his time. 


AggerawatOTS (corruption of Aggravators), the greasy locks of hair in 
vogue among costermongers and other street folk, worn twisted from 
the temple back towards the ear. They are also, from a supposed 
resemblance in form, termed NEWGATE KNOCKERS, and sometimes 
NUMBER SIXES. This style of adorning the head is, however, fast 
dying out, and the everyday costermonger or street thief has his hair 
cut like any one else. The yearly militia drill may have had a good 
deal to do with this alteration. 

AkeybO, a slang phrase used in the following manner : " He beats 
AKEYBO, and AKEYBO beat the devil." 

Albertopolis, a facetious appellation given by the Londoners to the 
Kensington Gore district. Now obsolete. 

Alderman, a half-crown possibly from its rotundity. Also a long 

Alderman, a turkey j " ALDERMAN IN CHAINS," a turkey hung with 

All of a Hugh ! all on one side ; falling with a thump ; the word HUGH 

being pronounced with a grunt. Suffolk. 

All my Eye, a remark of incredulity made in reference to an improbable 
story ; condensation of "ALL IIY EYE AND BETTY MARTIN," a vulgar 
phrase constructed from the commencement of a Roman Catholic 
prayer to St. Martin, "Oh, mihi, beate Martine," which in common 
with many another fell into discredit and ridicule after the Reformation. 

All Out, by far ; " he was ALL OUT the best of the lot" Old fre- 
quently used by Burton hi his Anatomy of Melancholy. 


All-overish, neither sick nor well ; the premonitory symptoms of illness. 
Also the feeling which comes over a man at a critical moment, say 
just when he is about to " pop the question." Sometimes this is 
called, "feeling all over alike, and touching nowhere." 

All-rounder, a shirt collar going all round the neck and meeting in 
front. Once fashionable, but little worn now. 

All Serene, an ejaculation of acquiescence. Some years back a popular 
street cry. With or without application to actual fact, the words ALL 
SERENE were bawled from morning to night without any reference to 
the serenity of the unfortunate hearers. See SERENE. 

Alls, tap-droppings, refuse spirits sold at a cheap rate in gin-palaces. 

All There, in strict fashion, first-rate, "up to the mark;" a vulgar 
person would speak of a handsome, well-dressed woman as being 
ALL THERE. An artisan would use the same phrase to express the 
capabilities of a skilful fellow-workman. Sometimes ALL THE WAY 
THERE. Always used as a term of encomium. 

All to Pieces, utterly, excessively ; "he beat him ALL TO 
PIECES," i.e., excelled or surpassed him exceedingly. Also a term 
much in use among sporting men and expressing want of form, or 
decadence. A boat's crew are said to "go ALL TO PIECES" when 
they through distress lose their regularity. A woman is vulgarly 
said to "fall to pieces," or "tumble to pieces," when she is con- 

All to Smash, or "GONK ALL TO PIECES," bankrupt, ruined. 

Almighty Dollar, an American expression representing the manner 
in which money is worshipped. Modernly introduced by Washington 
Irving in 1837. The idea of this phrase is, however, far older than 
the time of Irving. Ben Jonson's Epistle to Elizabeth, Countess of 
Rutland, commences thus 

" Whilst that for which all virtue now is sold, 
And almost every vice, almightie gold." 

It seems almost obvious that the term must have been applied, not to 
dollars certainly, but to money, long before the time of Irving. 

American Tweezers, an instrument used by an hotel-sneak which 
nips the wards end of a key, and enables him to open a door from the 
opposite side to that on which it has been locked. 

Andrew Millar, a ship of war. Sea. 

Ain't, the vulgar abbreviation of " am not," " are not," or " is not." 

Anointed, i.e., eminent ; used to express great rascality in any one ; 
"an ANOINTED scoundrel," king among scoundrels. Irish. 

Anointing, a good beating. A case for the application of salve. 

A-lonyma, a lady of the demi-monde, or worse ; a " pretty horse- 
breaker." INCOGNITA was the term at first. Product of the 
squeamishness of the age which tries to thrust away fact by the use of 
fijue words. 

a 2 


Antiscriptural, oaths, foul language. Anything unfit for ordinary 
society conversation. 

Apartments to Let, a term nsed in reference to one who has a some- 
what empty head. As, " He's got APARTMENTS TO LET." 

Apostle's Grove, the London district known as St. John's Wood. 

Apostles, THE TWELVE, the last twelve names on the Poll, or "Ordinaiy 
Degree" List at the Cambridge Examinations, when it was arranged 
in order of merit, and not alphabetically, and in classes, as at present ; 
so called from their being post alias, after the others. See POLL. The 
last of all was called ST. PAUL (or Saint Poll), as being the least of 
the apostles, and " not meet to be called an apostle" (see l Cor. xv. 
9). As in the "Honour "list (see GULF), students who had failed 
only slightly in one or more subjects were occasionally allowed their 
degrees, and these were termed ELEGANT EXTRACTS. Camb. Univ. 

Apple-pie Bed, a trick played at schools on new comers, or on any 
boy disliked by the rest. One of the sheets is removed, and the 
other is doubled in the middle, so that both edges are brought to the 
top, and look as if both sheets were there ; but the unhappy occupant 
is prevented getting more than half-way down, and he has to remake 
his bed as best he can. This trick is sometimes played by children of 
a larger growth. 

Apple-Cart, the human structure, so far as the phrases with which it is 
connected are concerned. As "I'll upset your APPLE-CART," "down 
with his APPLE-CART." 

Apple-pie Order, in exact or very nice order. 

Appro, contraction of approbation, a word much in use among jewellers. 
Most of the extensive show of chains, watches, and trinkets in a shop 
window is obtained "ON APPRO," i.e., " on sale or return." 

Area Sneak, a thief who commits depredations upon kitchens and 

Argol-bargol, to bandy words. Scotch. 

Article, derisive term for a weak or insignificant specimen of humanity. 

Atomy, a diminutive or deformed person. From ANATOMY, or ATOM. 

Attack, to carve, or commence operations; "ATTACK that beef, and 
oblige t 4 

Attic, the head ; " queer in the ATTIC," intoxicated or weak-minded. 
Sometimes ATTIC is varied by "upper story." 

AttiC Salt, wit, humour, pleasantry. Partly a reference to a suggestive 
portion of Grecian literature, and partly a sly hit at the well-known 
poverty of many writers. 

Auctioneer, to "tip him the AUCTIONEER, "is to knock a man down. Tom 
Sayers's right hand was known to pugilistic fame as the AUCTIONEER, 

Audit Ale, extra strong ale supposed to be drunk when the account* 
are audited. Camb. Univ. 

Auld-Reekie, an affectionate term for tbu old town of Edinburgh, 
Derived from its dingy appearance 


Aivnt Sally, a favourite figure on racecourses and at fairs, consisting of a 
wooden head mounted on a stick, firmly fixed in the ground ; in the 
nose of which, or rather where the nose should be, a tobacco-pipe is 
inserted. The fun consists in standing at a distance and demolishing 
AUNT SALLY'S pipe-clay projection with short bludgeons, very 
similar to the halves of broom-handles. The Duke of Beaufort is a 
"crack hand" at smashing pipe noses; and his performances some 
years ago on Brighton racecourse, which brought the game into 
notoriety, are yet fresh in remembrance. AUNT SAI.LY has, however, 
had her day, and once again the inevitable " three shies a penny !" is 
chief among our outdoor amusements. 

Avast, a sailor's phrase for stop, shut up, go away, apparently con- 
nected with the old Cant, BYNGE A WASTE ; or from the Italian, 
BASTA, hold ! enough. 

Awake, or FLY, knowing, thoroughly understanding. "I'm awake," 
i.e., I know all. The phrase WIDE-AWAKE carries a similar 
meaning in ordinary conversation, but has a more general reference. 

Awful, a senseless expletive, used to intensify a description of anything 
good or bad; "what an AWFUL fine woman!" "awfully jolly, 
"awfully sorry," &c. The phrase is not confined to any section of 

Ax, to ask. Sometimes pronounced arks. 

Babes, the lowest order of KNOCK-OUTS (which see), who are prevailed 
upon not to give opposing biddings at auctions, in consideration of 
their receiving a small sum (from one shilling to half-a-crown), and a 
certain quantity of beer. They can, however, even after this agree- 
ment, be secured on the other side for a little longer price. There is no 
honour among thieves at all events not among auction thieves now- 

.Back, to support by means of money, on the turf or otherwise. See LAY. 

Back, "to get one's BACK UP," to annoy or enrage. Probably from the 
action of a cat when preparing to give battle to an enemy. 

Back-end, that portion of the year which commences with October. 
This phrase is peculiar to the turf, and has its origin in the fact that 
October was actually, and is now nearly, the finishing portion of the 
racing season. Towaids KACK-ENU the punters and " little men" gene- 
rally begin to look forward with anxiety to their winter prospects, and 
" going for the gloves" is not only a frequent phrase, but a frequently 
recurring practice. 

Back Out, to retreat from a difficulty ; reverse of GO AHEAD. Metaphor 
borrowed from the stables. 

Back Slang It, to go out the back way. Equivalent to " Sling youi 
hook out of the back-door," i.e., get away quickly. 

Baekslums. the byeways and disreputable portions of a town. 

Bact-Hander, a blow on the face with the back of the hand, a back- 
handed tip. Also a drink out ot turn, as when a greedy person delays 
the decanter to get a second glass. Anything done slyly or secretly 
V said to be done in a back-handed manner. 


Backer, one who places his money on a particular man or animal ; a 

supporter of one side in a contest. The great body of betting men is 

divided into BOOKMAKERS and BACKERS. 
Back Jump, a back window. Prison term. 
Bacon, the body, " to save one's BACON," to escape. 
Bad, " to go to the BAD," to deteriorate in character, to be ruined. Virgil 

has an almost similar phrase, in pejus ruere, which means, by the way, 

to go to the worse. 
Bad, hard, difficult. Word in use among sporting men who say, "He 

will be BAD to beat," when they mean that the man or horse to whom 

they refer will about win. 
Bad Egg, a scoundrel or rascal. 

Badger, to tease, to annoy by "chaffing." Suggestive of drawing a 

Bad Lot, a term derived from auctioneering slang, and now generally 
used to describe a man or woman of indifferent morals. 

Badminton, blood, properly a peculiar kind of claret-cup invented at 
the Duke of Beaufort's seat of that name. BADMINTON proper is 
made of claret, sugar, spice, cucumber peel, and ice, and was some- 
times used by the patrons of the Prize Ring as a synonym for blood. 

Bad Word 13 , words not always bad of themselves but unpleasant to 
"ears polite," from their vulgar associations. 

Baffaty, calico. Term used in the drapery trade. 

Bag, to seize or steal, equivalent to "collar." 

Bagman, a commercial traveller. This word is used mc/e in reference to 
the old style of commercial travellers than to the present. 

Bags, trousers. Trousers of an extensive pattern, or exaggerated fashion, 
have sometimes been termed HOWLING-BAGS, but only when the style 
has been very "loud." The word is probably an abbreviation of 
bumbags. "To have the BAGS off," to be of age and one's own 
master, to have plenty of money. BAGS OF MYSTERY is another 
phrase in frequent use, and refers to sausages and saveloys. BAG OF 
TRICKS, refers to the whole of a means towards a result. " That's 
the whole bag of tricks." 

Baked, seasoned, "he's only HALF-BAKED," i.e., soft, inexperienced. 

Baker's Dozen, thirteen. Originally the London bakers supplied the 
retailers, i.e., chandlers' shopkeepers and itinerants, with thirteen loaves 
to the dozen, so as to make up what is known as the overweight, the 
surplus number, called the inbread, being thrown in for fear of incurring 
a penalty for short weight. To " give a man a BAKER'S DOZLN," in 
a slang sense, sometimes means to give him an extra good beating or 

Balaam, printers' slang for matter kept in type about monstrous produc- 
tions of nature, &c., to fill up spaces in newspapers that would other- 
wise be vacant. The term BALAAM-BOX has often been used as the 
name of a depository for rejected articles. Evidently from Scripture, 
and referring to the " speech of an ass." 


Bald-Faced Stag, a term of derision applied to a person with a bald 
head. Also, still more coarsely, " BLADDER-OF-LARD." 

Bale up, an Australian terra equivalent to our " Shell out." A demand 
for instantaneous payment. 

Balleinbangjang. The Straits of BALLAMBANGJANG, though unno- 
ticed by geographers, are frequently mentioned in sailors' yarns as 
being so narrow, and the rocks on each side so crowded with trees in- 
habited by monkeys, that the ship's yards cannot be squared, on 
account of the monkey's tails getting jammed into, and choking up, 
the brace blocks. Sea. 

Ballast, money. A rich man is said to be well-ballasted. If not proui 
and over-bearing he is said to carry his ballast well. 

Balmy, weak-minded or idiotic (not insane). 
Balmy, sleep ; " have a dose of the BALMY." 

Bamboozle, to deceive, make fun of, or cheat a person ; abbreviated to 
BAM, which is sometimes used also as a substantive a deception, a 
sham, a " sell." Swift says BAMBOOZLE was invented by a nobleman 
in the reign of Charles II. ; but this is very likely an error. The 
probability is that a nobleman then first used it in polite society. The 
term is derived from the Gipsies. 

Bandannah, originally a peculiar kind of silk pocket-handkerchief, now 
slang used to denote all sorts of "stooks," "wipes," and "fogies," 
and in fact the generic term for a kerchief, whether neck or pocket. 

Banded, hungry. From the habit hungry folks have of tying themselves 
tight round the middle. 

Bandy, or CRIPPLE, a sixpence, so called from this coin being generally 
bent or crooked j old term for flimsy or bad cloth, temp. Q. Eliza- 

Bang, to excel or surpass ; BANGING, great or thumping. 

Bang-up, first-rate, in the best possible style. 

Bank, to put in a place of safety. " BANK the rag," i.e., secure the 
note. Also " to bank" is to go shares. 

Bank, the total amount possessed by any one, " How's the BANK ?" 
" Not very strong ; about one and a buck." 

Bantling, a child ; stated in Bacchus and Venus, 1737, and by Grose, 
to be a cant term. This is hardly slang now-a-days, and modem 
etymologists give its origin as that of bands or swaddling clothes. 

Banyan-Day, a day on which no meat is served out for rations ; pro- 
bably derived from the BANIANS, a Hindoo caste, who abstain from 
animal food. Quite as probably from the sanitary arrangements which 
have in hot climates counselled the eating of BANYANS and other 
fruits in preference to meat on certain days. Sea. 

Bar, or BARRING, excepting ; hi common use in the betting-ring; " Two to 
one bar one," i.e., two to one against any horse with the exception of 


one. The Irish use of BARRIN' is very similar, and the words BAR and 
BARRING may now be regarded as general. 

"Barber's Cat, a half-starved sickly-looking person. Term used in con- 
nexion with an expression too coarse to print. 

Barber's Clerk, an overdressed shopboy who apes the manners of, and 
tries to pass himself off as, a gentleman ; a term of reproach applied 
not to an artisan but to one of those who, being below, assume airs of 
superiority over, handicraftsmen. 

Barge, a term used among printers (compositors) to denote a case in 
which there is an undue proportion of some letters and a correspond- 
ing shortness of those which are most valuable. 

Bark, an Irish \ erson of either sex. From this term, much in use among 
the London lower orders, but for which no etymology can be found, 
Ireland is now and then playfully called Barkshire. 

Barker, a man employed to cry at the doors of "gaffs," shows, and 
puffing shops, to entice people inside. Among touting photographers 
he is called a doorsman. 

Barking-Iron, or BARKER, a pistol. Term used by footpads and thieves 

Barnacles, spectacles ; possibly a corruption of BINOCDLI ; but derived 
by some from the barnacle (Lefas Anatifera), a kind of conical shell 
adhering to ships' bottoms. Hence a marine term for goggles, 
which they resemble in shape, and for which they are used by sailors 
in case of ophthalmic derangement. 

Barney, an unfair race of any kind : a sell or cross. Also a lark, jollifi- 
cation, or outing. The word BARNEY is sometimes applied to a 
swindle unconnected with the sporting world. 

Barn Storm ers, theatrical performers who travel the country and act 
in barns, selecting short and tragic pieces to suit the rustic taste. 

Barrikin, jargon, speech, or discourse; "We can't tumble to that 
BARRIKIN," i.e., we don't understand what he says. " Cheese your 
BARRIKIN," shut up. Miege calls it " a sort of stuff ;" Old French, 


Bash, to beat, thrash ; "BASHING a dona," beating a woman ; originally 
a provincial word, applied to the practice of beating walnut trees, 
when in bud, with long poles, to increase their productiveness. Hence 
the West country proverb 

" A woman, a whelp, and a walnut tree, 
The more you BASH 'em, the better they be." 

The word BASH, among thieves, signifies to flog with the cat or birch. 
The worst that can happen to a brutal ruffian is to receive "a BASHING 
in, and a BASHING out," a flogging at the commencement and 
another at the close of his term of enforced virtue. 

Baste, to beat, properly to pour gravy on roasting meat to keep it from 
burning, and add to its flavour. Also a sewing term. 


Bastile, the workhouse. General name for "the Union " amongst the 
lower orders of the North. Formerly used to denote a prison, or 
"lock-up;" but its abbreviated form, STEEL, is now the favourite 
expression with the dangerous classes, some of whom have never heard 
of BASTILE, familiar as they are with " steel." 

Bat, " on his own BAT," on his own account. Evident modification of 
the cricket term, "off his own bat, "though not connected therewith. 
See HOOK. 

Bat, to take an innings at cricket. To "carry out one's BAT" is to be last 
in, i.e., to be "not out." A man's individual score is said to be made 
"off his own BAT." 

Bat, pace at walking or running. As, " He went off at a good BAT." 
BatS, a pair of bad boots. 

Battells, the weekly bills at Oxford. Probably originally wooden tal- 
lies, and so a diminutive of baton. University. 

Batter, wear and tear ; "can't stand the BATTER," i.e., not equal to the 
task ; "on the BATTER," "on the streets," "on the town, or given 
up to roystering and debauchery. 

Batty, wages, perquisites. Derived from BATTA, an extra pay given to 
soldiers while serving in India. 

Batty-Pang, to beat ; BATTY-FANGING, a beating ; also BATTER-FANG. 
Used metaphorically as early as 1630. 

" So batter-fanned and belabour'd with tongue mettle, that he was weary of his 
life." Taylors Works. 

Beach-Comber, * fellow who prowls about the sea-shore to plunder 
wrecks, and picK up waifs and strays of any kind. Sea. 

Beak, originally a magistrate, judge, or policeman ; now a magistrate 
only ;" to baffle the BEAK," to get remanded. Ancient Cant, BECK. 
Saxon, BEAG, a necklace or gold collar emblem of authority. Sir 
John Fielding was called the BLIND-BEAK in the last century. Maybe 
connected with the Italian BECCO, which means a (bird's) beak, and 
also a blockhead. See WALKER. 

Beaker-Hunter, or BEAK-HUNTER, a stealer of poultry. 

Beans, money ; "a haddock of BEANS," a purse of money ; formerly, 
BEAN meant a guinea ; French, BIENS, property. 

Bear, one who contracts to deliver or sell a certain quantity of stock in 
the public funds on a forthcoming day at a stated place, but who does 
not possess it, trusting to a decline in public securities to enable him 
to fulfil the agreement and realize a profit. See BULL. Both words 
are slang terms on the Stock Exchange, and are frequently used in the 
business columns of newspapers. 


the buyer a BULL, perhaps only as a similar distinction. The contract wa 
merely a wager, to be determined by the rise or fall of stock ; if it rose, the 
seller paid the difference to the buyer, proportioned to the sum determined by 
the same computation to the seller." Dr. Warton on Pope. 

These arrangements are nowadays called "time bargains," and are as 
fairly (or unfairly) gambling as any transactions at the Victoria Club or 
Tittersall's, or any of the doings which call for the intervention of the 
police and the protestations of pompous City magistrates, who, during 
their terms of office, try to be virtuous and make their names immortal. 
Certainly BULLING and BEARING are as productive of bankruptcy and 
misery as are BACKING and LAVING. 

Be-argereti, drunk. (The word is divided here simply to convey the 
pronunciation. ) 

Bear-Leader, a tutor in a private family. In the old days of the 
" grand tour " the term was much more in use and of course more sig- 
nificant than it is now. 

Bear -up and Bearer-up. See BONNET. 

Beat, the allotted range traversed by a policeman on duty. 

Beat, or BEAT-HOLLOW, to surpass or excel; also " BEAT into fits," and 

"BEAT badly." 

Beat, "DEAD-BEAT," wholly worn out, done up. 
Beater-Cases, boots. Nearly obsolete. TROTTER CASES is the term 

Beaver, old street term for a hat ; GOSS is the modern word, BEAVER, 

except in the country, having fallen into disuse. 
Bebee, a lady. Anglo-Indian. 
Be-Blowed, a derisive instruction never carried into effect, as, " You 

BE-BLOWED." Used similarly to the old " Go to." See BLOW ME. 

Bed-Fagot, a contemptuous term for a woman ; generally applied to a 
prostitute. See FAGOT. 

Bed-Post, "in the twinkling of a BED-POST," in a moment, or very 
quickly. Originally BED-STAFF, a stick placed vertically in the frame 
of a bed to keep the bedding in its place, and used sometimes as a 
defensive weapon. 

Bee, "to have a BEE in one's bonnet," i.e., to be not exactly sane ; to 
have a craze in one particular direction. Several otherwise sensible 
and excellent M.P.'s are distinguished by the "BEE in his bonnet" 
each carries. 

Beef-Headed, stupid, fat-headed, dull. 

Beefy, unduly thick or fat, commonly said of women's ankles ; also rich, 
juicy, plenteous. To take the whole pool at loo, or to have any 
particular run of luck at cards generally is said by players to be " very 


Beeline, the straightest possible line of route to a given point. When a 
bee is well laden, it makes a straight flight for home. Originally ar 
Americanism, but now general. 

Beery, intoxicated, or fuddled with beer. 


Beeswax, poor, soft cheese. Sometimes called "sweaty-toe cheese." 
Beeswing, the film which forms on the sides of bottles which contain 
good old port wine. This breaks up into small pieces in the process 
of decanting, and looks like BEES' WINGS. Hence the term. 

Beetle-Crusher, or SQUASHER, a large flat foot. The expression was 

made popular by being once used by Leech. 
Beetle-Sticker, an entomologist. 

Beggars' Velvet, downy particles which accumulate under furniture 

from the negligence of housemaids. Otherwise called SLUTS'-WOOL. 
Belcher, a blue bird's-eye handkerchief. See BILLY. 
Bell, a song. Tramps' term. Simply diminutive of BELLOW. 

Bellows, the lungs. BELLOWSER, a blow in the " wind," or pit of tht 

stomach, taking one's breath away. 
Bellowsed, or LAGGED, transported. 
Bellows to Mend, a person out of breath ; especially a pugilist is said 

to be " BELLOWS TO MEND " when winded. With the P.R., the word 

has fallen into desuetude. 
Belly-Timber, food, or "grub." 
Belly- Vengeance, small sour beer, apt to cause gastralgia. 

Bemuse, to fuddle one's self with drink, "BEMUSING himself with 

beer," &c. 

Ben, a benefit. Theatrical. 
Ben Cull, a friend, or "pal." Expression used by thieves. 

Bend, " that's above my bend," i.e., beyond my power, too expensive or 
too difficult for me to perform. 

Bender, a sixpence. Probably from its liability to bend. In the days 
when the term was most in use sixpences were not kept in the excellent 
state of preservation peculiar to the currency of the present day. 

Bonder, the arm; "over the BENDER," synonymous with "over the 

left." See OVER. 
BendigO, a rough fur cap worn in the midland counties, called after a 

noted, pugilist of that name. "Hard Punchers" are caps worn by 

London roughs and formerly by men in training. They are a modifi- 

cation of the common Scotch cap, and have peaks. 

Bbfie, good. Ancient Cant; BENAR was the comparative. See BONE. 


Benedick, a married man. Shakspcare. 
Benjamin, coat. Formerly termed a JOSEPH, in allusion, perhaps, to 

Joseph's coat of many colours. See UPPER-BENJAMIN. 
Ben Joltram, brown bread and skimmed milk ; a Norfolk term for t 

ploughboy's breakfast. 

Benjy, a waistcoat, diminutive of BENJAMIN. 
Beong, a shilling. .So 1 SALTEE. Lingua Franca. 
Bess-o' -Bedlam, a lunatic vagrant. Norfolk. 


Best, to get the better or BEST of a man in any way not necessarily to 
cheat to have the best of a bargain. BESTED, taken in, or defrauded, 
in reality worsted. BESTER, a low betting cheat, a fraudulent book- 

Better, more; "how far is it to town?" "Oh, BETTER 'n a mile." 
Saxon and Old English, now a vulgarism. 

Betting Round, laying fairly and equally against nearly all the horses 
in a race so that no great risk can be run. Commonly called getting 
round. See BOOK, and BOOKMAKING. 

Betty, a skeleton key, or picklock. Old Prison Cant. 
B Flats, bugs. Compare F SHARPS. 

Bible-Carrier, a person who sells songs without singing them. Seven 

Biddy, a general name applied to Irish stallwomen and milkmaids, in 
the same manner that Mike is given to the labouring men. A big 
red-faced Irish servant girl is known as a Bridget. 

Big, " to look BIG," to assume an inflated air or manner ; "to talk BIG," 
i*., boastingly. 

Big-Bird, TO GET THE, i.e., to be hissed, as actors occasionally are 
by the "gods." BIG-BIRD is simply a metaphor for goose. Theat. 

Big House, or LARGE HOUSE, the workhouse, a phrase used by the 
very poor. 

Big- wig, a person in authority or office. Exchangeable with "GREAT 


Bilbo, a sword ; abbrev. of " BILBAO blade." Spanish swords were 
anciently very celebrated, especially those of Toledo, Bilbao, &c. 

Bilk, a cheat, or a swindler. Formerly in general use, now confined to 
the streets, where it is common, and mostly used in reference to pros- 
titutes. Gothic, BILAICAN. 

Bilk, to defraud, or obtain goods, &c., without paying for them ; "to 
BILK the schoolmaster," to get information or experience without pay- 
ing for it. 

Billingsgate (when applied to speech), foul and coarse language. 

Many years since people used to visit Thames Street to hear tht 

Billingsgate fishwomen abuse each other. The anecdote of Dr 

Johnson and the Billingsgate virago is well known. 
Billingsgate Pheasant, a red herring or bloater. This is also called 

a " two-eyed steak." 
Billy, a silk pocket-handkerchief. Scotch. See WIPE. 

%* A list of slang terms descriptive of the various patterns of 
handkerchiefs, pocket and neck, is here subjoined : 

BELCHER, darkish blue ground, large round white spots, with a 
spot in the centre of darker blue than the ground. This 


was adopted by Jem Belcher, the pugilist, as his "colours," 
and soon became popular amongst " the fancy." 

BIRD'S-EYE WIPE, a handkerchief of any colour, containing 
white spots. The blue bird's-eye is similar to the Belcher 
except in the centre. Sometimes a BIRD'S-EYE WIPE has 
a white ground and blue spots. 


BLUE BILLY, blue ground, generally with white figures. 

CREAM FANCY, any pattern on a white ground. 

KING'S MAN, yellow pattern on a green ground. 

RANDAL'S MAN, green, with white spots ; named after the 
favourite colours of Jack Randal, pugilist. 

WATER'S MAN, sky coloured. 

YELLOW FANCY, yellow, with white spots. 

YELLOW MAN, all yellow. 

Billy, a policeman's staff. Also stolen metal of any kind. BILLY- 
HUNTING is buying old metal. A BILLY-FENCER is a marine-store 

Billy-Barlow, a street clown ; sometimes termed a JIM CROW, or 
SALTIMBANCO, so called from the hero of a slang song. Billy was a 
real person, semi-idiotic, and though in dirt and rags, fancied himself 
a swell of the first water. Occasionally he came out with real wit- 
ticisms. He was a well-known street character about the East-end of 
London, and died in Whitechapel Workhouse. 

Billy-Cock, a soft felt hat of the Jim Crow or "wide-awake" de- 

BingO, brandy. Old Cant. 

Bingy, a term largely used in the butter trade to denote bad, ropy butter; 
nearly equivalent to VINNIED. 

Bird-Cage, a four-wheeled cab. 

Birthday Suit, the suit in which Adam and Eve first saw each other, 
and " were not ashamed." 

Bishop, a warm drink composed of materials similar to those used in the 
manufacture of "flip " and " purl." 

Bit, fourpence ; in America a \z\ cent piece is called a BIT, and a defaced 20 
cent piece is termed a LONG BIT. A BIT is the smallest coin in 
Jamaica, equal to 6d. BIT usually means the smallest silver coin in 
circulation ; also a piece of money of any kind. Charles Bannister, 
the witty singer and actor, one day meeting a Bow Street runner with 
a man in custody, asked what the prisoner had done ; and being told 
that he had stolen a bridle, and had been detected in the act of selling 
it, said, "Ah, then, he wanted to touch the BIT." 

Bitch, tea ; " a BITCH party," a tea-drinking. Probably because under- 
raduates consider tea only fit for old women. Oxford. 

Bite, a cheat; " a Yorkshire BITE," a cheating fellow from that county. 
The tenn BITE is also applied to a hard bargainer. North ; also old 


slang used by Pope. Swift says it originated with a nobleman in his 

Bite, to cheat ; "to be BITTEN," to be taken in or imposed upon. Ori- 
ginally a Gipsy term. CROSS-BITER, for a cheat, continually occurs in 
writers of the sixteenth century. Bailey has CROSS-BITE, a disappoint- 
ment, probably the primary sense ; and BITE is very probably a con- 
traction of this. 

Bit-Faker, or TURNER OUT, a coiner of bad money. 

Bit-Of- Stuff, overdressed man ; a man with full confidence in his 
appearance and abilities ; a young woman, who is also called a BIT OF 

Bitter, diminutive of bitter beer ; " to do a BITTER," to drink beer. 
Originally Oxford, but now general. 

Bittock, a distance of very undecided length. If a North countryman be 
asked the distance to a place, he will most probably reply, "a mile 
and a BITTOCK." The latter may be considered any distance from one 
hundred yards to ten miles. 

Bivvy, or GATTER, beer ; "shant of BIVVY," a pot or quart of beer. In 
Suffolk the afternoon refreshment of reapers is called BEVER. It is 
also an old English term. 

" He is none of those same ordinary eaters, that will devour three breakfasts, 
and as many dinners, without any prejudice to their BEYERS, drinkings, or 
suppers." Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman Hater, i. 3. 

Both words are probably from the Italian, BEVERE, BERE. Latin, 


Biz, contraction of the word business ; a phrase much used in America in 
writing as well as in conversation. 

B. K. S. Military officers in mufti, when out on a spree, and not 
wishing their profession to be known, speak of their barracks as the 
B. K. S. 

Black and White, handwriting or print. " Let's have it in BLACK 
AND WHITE," is often said with regard to an agreement when it is to 
the advantage of one or both that it should be written. 

Black-a- Vised, having a very dark complexion. 
Blackberry-Swagger, a perse n who hawks tapes, boot-laces, &c. 

Blackbirding, slave-catching. Term most applied nowadays to the 

Polynesian coolie traffic, 

Black Diamonds, coals ; talented persons of dingy or unpolished ex- 
terior ; rough jewels. 

Blackguard, a low or dirty fellow ; a rough or a hulking fellow, capable 
of any meanness or cowardice. 

"A cant word amongst the vulgar, by which is implied a dirty fellow of the 
meanest kind, Dr. Johnson says, and he cites only the moJem authority of 
Swift. But the introduction of this word into our language belongs not to the 
Yulgar, and is more than a century prior to the time of Swift. Mr. Malone 
agrees with me in exhibiting the two first of the following examples : Tho 
klack-zuard is evidently designed to imply a fit attendant on the devil. MX. 


GifFord, however, in his late edition of Ben Jonson's works, assigns an origin 
of the name different from what the old examples which I have cited seem to 
countenance. It has been formed, he says, from those ' mean and dirty de- 
pendants, in great houses, who were selected to carry coals to the kitchen, 
nails, c. To this smutty regiment, who attended the progresses, and rode in 
the carts with the pots and kettles, which, with every other article of furniture, 
were then moved from palace to palace, the people, in derision, gave the name 
of black guards ', a term since become sufficiently familiar, and never properly 
explained.' " Todifs Johnson's Dictionary. 
Blackguard as an adjective is very powerful. 

Blackleg, a rascal, swindler, or card cheat. The derivation of this term 
was solemnly argued before the full Court of Queen's Bench upon a 
motion for a new tiial for libel, but was not decided by the learned 
tribunal. Probably it is from the custom of sporting and turf men 
wearing black top-boots. Hence BLACKLEG came to be the phrase for a 
professional sporting man, and thence for a professional sporting cheat. 
The word is now in its worst sense diminished to "leg." 

Black Maria, the sombre van in which prisoners are conveyed from the 

police court to prison. 
Black Monday, the Monday on which boys return to school after the 

holidays. Also a low term for the Monday on which an execution 

took place. 
Black Sheep, a "bad lot," " mauvais su/et ;" sometimes "scabby 

sheep ;" also a workman who refuses to join in a strike. 

Black Strap, port wine ; especially that which is thick and sweet. 

Blackwork, undertaking. The waiters met at public dinners are often 
employed during the day as mutes, etc. Omnibus and cab drivers 
regard BLACKWORK as a dernier ressort, 

Bladder-cf-Lard, a coarse, satirical nickname for a bald-headed 

person. From similarity of appearance. 
Blade, a man in ancient times the term for a soldier; "knowing 

BLADE," a wide-awake, sharp, or cunning man. 

Blarney, flattery, powers of persuasion. A castle in the county of Cork. 
It is said that whoever kisses a certain stone in this castle will be able 
to persuade others of whatever he or she pleases. The name of the 
castle is derived from BLADH, a blossom, i.e., the flowery or fertile 
demesne. BLADH is also flattery ; hence the connexion. A more 
than ordinarily persuasive Irishman is said to have "kissed the BLAR- 
NEY stone." 

Blast, to curse. Originally a Military expression. 

Blaze, to leave trace purposely of one's way in a forest or unknown path 
by marking trees or other objects. 

Blazes, a low synonym for the infernal regions, and now almost for any- 
thing. " Like BLAZES" is a phrase of intensification applied without 
any reference to the original meaning. Also applied to the brilliant 
habiliments of flunkeys, since the episode of Sam Weller and the 

Bleed , to victimize, or extract money from a person, to sponge on, to 
make suffer vindictively. 


Blest, a vow ; "BLEST if I'll do it," *'.*., I am determined not to do it ; 
euphemism for CURST. 

Blether, to bother, to annoy, to pester. " A BLETHERING old nui- 
sance " is a common expression for a garrulous old person. 

Blew, or BLOW, to inform, or peach, to lose or spend money. 

Blewed, a man who has lost or spent all his money is said to have 
BLEWED it. Also used in cases of robbery from the person, as, 
" He's BLEWED his red 'un," i.e., he's been eased of his watch. 

Slewed, got rid of, disposed of, spent. 
Blind, a pretence, or make-believe. 

Blind-Half-Hundred, the Fiftieth Regiment of Foot ; so called 
through their great sufferings from ophthalmia when serving in 
_ Egypt. 

Blind-Hookey, a game at cards which has no recommendation beyond 
the rapidity with which money can be won and lost at it ; called also 

Blind-Man's-Holiday, night, darkness. Sometimes applied to the 
period "between the lights." 

Blind Monkeys, an imaginary collection at the Zoological Gardens, 
which are supposed to receive care and attention from persons fitted by 
nature for such office and for little else. An idle and useless person 
is often told that he is only fit to lead the BLIND MONKEYS to evacuate. 
Another form this elegant conversation takes, is for one man to tell 
another that he knows of a suitable situation for him. " How much 
a week ? and what to do ?" are natural questions, and then comes 
the scathing and sarcastic reply, " Five bob a week at the doctor's 
you're to stand behind the door and make the patients sick. They 
wont want no physic when they sees your mug." 

Blinker, a blackened eye. Norwich. Also a hard blow in the eye, 

BLINKERS, spectacles. 
Blink-Fencer, a person who sells, spectacles. 

Bloated Aristocrat, a street term for any decently dressed person. 
From the persistent abuse lavished on a " bloated and parasitical 
aristocracy " by Hyde Park demagogues and a certain unpleasant por- 
tion of the weekly press. 

Bloater. See MILD. 

Blob (from BLAB), to talk. Beggars are of two kinds those who 
SCREEVE (introducing themselves with a FAKEMENT, or false docu- 
ment) and those who BLOB, or state their case in their own truly 
"unvarnished" language. 

Block, the head. "To BLOCK a hat," is to knock a man's hat down 
over his eyes. See BONNET. Also a street obstruction. 

Block Ornaments, the small dark-coloured and sometimes stinking 
pieces of meat which used to be exposed on the cheap butchers' blocks 
or counters ; matters of interest to all the sharp-visaged women in poor 


neighbourhoods. Since the great rise in the price of meat there has 
been little necessity for butchers to make block ornaments of their odds 
and ends. They are bespoke beforehand. 

Bloke, a man ; "the BLOKE with the jasey," the man with the wig, i.e., 
the Judge. Gipsy and Hindoo, LOKE. North, BLOACHER, any large 

Blood, a fast or high-mettled man. Nearly obsolete, but much used in 
George the Fourth's time. 

Blood-money, the money that used to be paid to any one who by 
information or evidence led to a conviction for a capital offence. Now 
adays applied to all sums received by informers. 

Blood-Red Fancy, a particular kind of handkerchief sometimes worn 
by pugilists and frequenters of prize fights. See BILLY and COLOUR. 

Bloody, an expletive used, without reference to meaning, as an adjective 
and an adverb, simply for intensification. 

Bloody Jemmy, an uncooked sheep's head. See SANGUINARY JAMES. 


Blow, to expose, or inform; "BLOW the gaff," to inform against a 

" ' As for that,' says Will, ' I could tell it well enough, if I had it, but I pust not 
be seen anywhere among my old acquaintances, for I am BLOWN, and they will 
all betray me.'" History of Colonel Jack, 1723. 

The expression would seem to have arisen from the belief that a flower 
might be blighted if " BLOWN upon" by a foul wind or a corrupted 
breath. See the condition of the flowers on a dinner-table by the time 
the company rise. In America, "to BLOW" is slang for to lie in a 
boasting manner, to brag or "gas" unduly. 

Blow a Cloud, to smoke a cigar or pipe a phrase used two centuries 
ago. Most likely in use as long as tobacco here an almost evident 

Blow Me, or BLOW ME TIGHT, a vow, a ridiculous and unmeaning ejacula- 
tion, inferring an appeal to the ejaculator ; " I'm BLOWED if you will" 
is a common expression among the lower orders ; " BLOW ME UP" was 
the term a century ago. See Parker's Adventures, 1781. The expres- 
sion BE-BLOWED is now more general. Thomas Hood used to tell a 
-story : 

" I was once asked to contribute to a new journal, not exactly gratuitously, but 
at a very small advance upon nothing and avowedly because the work hud 
been planned according to that estimate. However, I accepted the terms 
conditionally that is to say, provided the principle could be properly carried 
out. Accordingly, I wrote to my butcher, baker, and other tradesmen, in- 
forming them that it was necessary, for the sake of cheap literature and 
the interest of the reading public, that they should furnish me with their 
several commodities at a very trifling per-centage above cost price. It will 
be sufficient to quote the answer of the butcher: 'Sir, Respectin' your 
note, Cheap literater BE BLOWED ! Butchers must live as well as other pepel 
and if so be you or the readin" publick wants to have meat at prime cost, 
you must buy your owu beastetics, and kill yourselves. I remane, etc. 

'"JOHN SroK-T-i.'" 


Blow Out, or TUCK IN, a feast. Sometimes the expression is, " 
OUT your bags." A BLOW OUT is often called a tightener. 

Blow Up, to make a noise, or scold ; formerly a cant expression used 

among thieves, now a recognised and respectable phrase. BLOWING 

up, a jobation, a scolding. 
Blowen, originally a showy or flaunting female, now a prostitute only. 

In Wilts, a BLOWEN is a blossom. Germ. BLUHEN, to bloom. In 

German, also, BUHLEN is to court, and BUHLE, a sweetheart. 
" O du bluhende Madchen, viel schone Willkomm !" German Song. 

Possibly, however, the street term BLOWEN may mean one whose 

reputation has been BLOWN UPON or damaged. 

Blower, a girl ; a contemptuous name in opposition to JOMER. Gipsy. 
BlOWSey, a word applied to a rough wench, or coarse woman. 
Bludger, a low thief, who does not hesitate to use violence, literally one 

who will use a bludgeon. 

Blue, said of talk that is smutty or indecent. Probably from the French, 
" Bibliotheque Bleu." When the conversation has assumed an entirely 
opposite character, it is then said to be BROWN or Quakerish. 

Blue, a policeman ; otherwise BLUE BOTTJ 5. From the colour of his 

Blue, or BLEW, to pawn or pledge. Actually to get rid of. 

Blue, confounded or surprised ; "to look BLUE," to look astonished, 
annoyed, or disappointed. 

Blue Bellies, a term applied by the Confederate soldiers during the 
civil war in America to the Federals, the name being suggested by the 
skyblue gaberdines worn by the Northern soldiers. On the other 
hand, the "filthy BLUE BELLIES," as the full title ran, dubbed the 
Confederates ' ' Greybacks, " the epithet cutting both ways, as the Southern 
soldiers not only wore grey uniforms, but "greyback" is American as 
well as English for a louse. 

Blue Billy, the handkerchief (blue ground with white spots) sometimes 
worn and used as a colour at prize-fights. Also, the refuse ammoniacal 
lime from gas factories. 

Blue Blanket, a rough overcoat made of coarse pilot cloth. 

Blue Bottle, a policeman. This well-known slang term for a London 
constable is used by Shaksptare. In Part ii. of King Henry IV. t 
act v. scene 4, Doll Tearsheet calls the beadle, who is dragging her 
in, a "thin man in a censer, a BLUE-BOTTLE rogue." This may at 
first seem singular, but the reason is obvious. The beadles of Bride- 
well whose duty it was to whip the women prisoners were clad in 

Blue Butter, mercurial ointment used for the destruction of parasites. 

Blued, or SLEWED, tipsy, or drunk. Now given way to SLEWED. 

Blue Devils, the apparitions supposed to be seen by habitual drunkards. 
Form of del. trem. 


Blue Moon, an unlimited period. " Once in a blue moon." 

Blue Murders. Probably from desperate or alarming cries. A term 
used more to describe cries of terror or alarm than for any other 
purpose. As, " I heard her calling BLUE MURDERS." MORBLEU. 

Bluo-Pigeon-Flyer, sometimes a journeyman plumber, glazier, 01 
other workman, who, when repairing houses, strips off the lead, and 
makes away with it. This performance is, though, by no means con- 
fined to workmen. An empty house is often entered and the whole of 
the roof in its vicinity stripped, the only notice given to the folks 
below being received by them on the occasion of a heavy downfall of 
rain. The term FLYER has, indeed, of late years been more peculiarly 
applied to the man who steals the lead in pursuance of his vocation as 
a thief, than to him who takes it because it comes in the way of his 

Blue Buin, gin. 

Blues, a fit of despondency. See BLUE DEVILS. 

Blues, the police. Sometimes called the Royal Regiment of Foot-guards 

Bluey, lead. German, BLEI. Most likely, though, from the colour, as the 

term is of the very lowest slang. 

Bluff, an excuse ; also the game at cards known as euchre in America. 
Bluff, to turn aside, stop, or excuse. 

Blunt, money. It has been said that this term is from the French BLOND, 
sandy or golden colour, and that a parallel may be found in BROWN or 
BROWNS, the slang for half-pence. Far-fetched as this etymology 
seems, it may be correct, as it is borne out by the analogy of similar 
expressions. Cf. BLANQUILLO, a word used in Morocco and Southern 
Spain for a small Moorish coin. The "asper" (&<nrp6v) of Constan- 
tinople is called by the Turks AKCHEH, i.e., " little white." 

Blurt Out, to speak from impulse, and without reflection, to let out 
suddenly. Shakspeare. 

B.N.C., for Brasenose, initials of Brazen Nose College. In spite of the 
nose over the gate the probability is the real name was Brasinium. It 
is still famous for its beer. University. 

Board-of-Green-Cloth, a facetious synonym for a card or billiard 
, table. 

Boat, originally to transport ; the term is now applied to penal servitude. 
To "get the BOAT," or to " be BOATED," is to be sentenced to a long 
term of imprisonment equivalent to transportation under the old 

Bob, a shilling. Formerly BOBSTICK, which may have been the original. 
BOB-A-NOB, a shilling a-head. 

Bob, "s'help me BOB," a street oath, equivalent to "so help me God." 
Other words are used in street language for a similarly evasive purpose, 
i.f., CAT, GREENS, TATUR, &c., all equally ridiculous. Ignorant 
people have a singular habit of saying " so help my," instead of " /-," 

B * 


whatever the following words may be. This shows how little they 
think of the meanings of the phrases most in use among them. The 
words "so help" are almost invariably pronounced "swelp." 

Bobbery, a squabble, tumult. Anglo-Indian. 

Bobbish., very well, clever, spruce. "How are you doing?" "Ohl 
pretty BOBBISH." Old. 

Bobby, a policeman : both BOBBY and PEELER were nicknames given to 
the new police, in allusion to the Christian name and surname of the 
late Sir Robert Peel, who was the prime mover in effecting their 
introduction and improvement. The term BOBBY is, however, older 
than the introduction of the new police The official square-keeper, 
who is always armed with a cane to drive away idle and disorderly 
urchins, has, time out of mind, been called by the said urchins, " BOBBY 
the beadle." 

Bodkin, any one sitting between two others in a carriage, is said " to ride 
BODKIN." Amongst sporting men, applied to a person who takes his 
turn between the sheets on alternate nights, when the hotel has twice 
as many visitors as it can comfortably lodge ; as, for instance, during a 
race- week. 

Body-Snatcher, a bailiff or runner : SNATCH, the trick by which the 
bailiff captures the delinquent. These terms are now almost obsolete, 
so far as the pursuits mentioned are concerned. 

Bog, or BOG-HOUSE, a privy, as distinguished from a water-closet. 
Originally printers' slang, but now very common, and not applied 
to any particular form of cabinet d'aisance. " To BOG " is to ease 
oneself by evacuation. 

Bog-Oranges, potatoes. A phrase perhaps derived from the term 
"Irish fruit," which, by some strange peculiarity has been applied to 
potatoes ; for even the most ignorant Cockney could hardly believe that 
potatoes grow in a bog. As, however, the majority of the lower 
classes of London do believe that potatoes were indigenous to, and 
were first brought from the soil of Ireland, which is also in some parts 
supposed to be capable of growing nothing else, they may even believe 
that potatoes are actually BOG-ORANGES. 

Bog-Trotter, satirical name for an Irishman. Miege. Camden, how- 
ever, speaking of the "debateable land" on the borders of England 
and Scotland, says, "both these dales breed notable BOG-TROTTERS." 

Bogus, an American term for anything pretending to be that which it u 
not such as BOGUS degrees, BOGUS titles, &c. 

Boilers, or PROMPTON BOILER*, a name originally given to the New 
Kensington Museum and School of Art, in allusion to the peculiar 
form of the buildings, and the fact of their being mainly composed of, 
and covered with, sheet iron. This has been changed since the 
extensive alterations in the building, or rather pile of buildings, and 
the words are now the property of the BethRal Green Museut: -Jar 


Boko, the nose. Originally pugilistic slang, but now general. 

Bolt, to run away, decamp, or abscond. Also to swallow without 

chewing. To eat greedily. 
Bolus, an apothecary. Origin evident. 

Bombay Ducks ; in the East India Company's army the Bombay 
regiments were so designated. The name is now given to a dried 
fisli (bummelow), much eaten by natives and Europeans in Western 
India. Anglo-Indian. 

BOH6, to steal or appropriate what does not belong to you BONED, 
seized, apprehended. Old. 

Bone, good, excellent. O, the vagabonds' hieroglyphic for BONE, or 
good, chalked by them on houses and street comers as a hint to 
succeeding beggars. French, BON. 

Bone-Grubber, a person who hunts dust-holes, gutters, and all likely 
spots for refuse bones, which he sells at the rag-shops, or to the bone- 
grinders. The term was also applied to a resurrectionist. Cobbett 
was therefore called "a BONE GRUBBER," because he brought the 
remains of Tom Paine from America. 

Bone-Picker, a footman. 

Bones, to rattle the BONES, to play at dice: also called St. Hugh's 

Bones, " he made no BONES of it," he did not hesitate, i.e., undertook 
and finished the work without difficulty, "found no BONES in the 
jelly." Ancient, vide Cotgrave. 

Boniface, landlord of a tavern or inn. 

Bonnet, or BONNETER, a gambling cheat. Sometimes called a " bearer- 
up." The BONNET plays as though he were a member of the 
general public, and by his good luck, or by the force of his example, 
induces others to venture their stakes. Bonneting is often done in 
much better society than that to be found in the ordinary gaming' 
rooms. A man who persuades another to buy an article on which he 
receives commission or per-centage is said to BONNET or bear-up for 
the seller. Also, a pretence, or make-believe, a sham bidder at 
auctions, one who metaphorically blinds or BONNETS others. 

Bonnet, to strike a man's cap or hat over his eyes. Also to " bear-up" 

for another. 
Booby-Trap, a favourite amusement of boys at school. It consists in 

placing a pitcher of water on the top of a door set ajar for the purpose ; 

the person whom they wish to drench is then made to pass through 

the door, and receives the pitcher and its contents on his unlucky head. 

Books are sometimes used. 

Book, an arrangement of bets against certain horses marked in a 
pocket-book made for that purpose. " Making a BOOK upon it," is a 
common phrase to denote that a man is prepared to lay the odds 
against the horses in a race. " That does not suit my BOOK," i.e., 
does not accord with my other arrangements. TV principle cf 


making a BOOK, or betting round, as it is sometimes termed, is to lay 
a previously-determined sum against every horse in the race, or as many 
horses as possible ; and should the bookmaker "get round," i.e., succeed 
in laying against as many horses as will more than balance the odds 
laid, he is certain to be a winner. The BOOKMAKER is distinguished 
from the backer by its being his particular business to bet against 
horses, or to lay, while the backer, who is also often a professional 
gambler, stands by the chance of a horse, or the chances of a set of 
horses about which he supposes himself to be possessed of special 
information. A bookmaker rarely backs horses for his own particular 
fancy he may indeed put a sovereign or a fiver on an animal about 
which he has been told something, but as a rule if he specially 
fancies a horse, the bookmaker lets him "run for the BOOK," i.e., 
does not lay against him. When a bookmaker backs a horse in the 
course of his regular business, it is because he has laid too much 
against him, and finds it convenient to share the danger with other 

Booked, caught, fixed, disposed of. Term in Book-keeping. 

Bookmaker's Pocket, a breast-pocket made inside the waistcoat, for 
notes of large amount. 

Books, a pack of cards. Term used by professional card-players. See 

Boom, " to top one's BOOM off," to be off or start in a certain direction. 

Boom-Passenger, a sailor's slang term for a convict on board ship. 

Derived from the circumstance that prisoners on board convict ships 

were chained to, or were made to crawl along or stand on the booms 

for exercise or punishment. 

Boon-Companion, a comrade in a drinking bout. BOON evidently 
corruption of BON. 

Booze, drink. Ancient Cant, BOWSE. BOOZE, or SUCK-CASA, a public- 

Booze, to drink, or more properly, to use another slang term, to "lush," 
viz., to drink continually, until drunk, or nearly so. The term is an 
old one. Harman, in Queen Elizabeth's days, speaks of " BOUSING 
(or boozing) and belly-cheere." Massinger also speaks of BOUSE. The 
term was good English in the fourteenth century, and came from the 
Dutch, BUYZEN, to tipple. 

Boozing-Ken, a beer-shop, a low public-house. Ancient. 
Boozy, intoxicated or fuddled. 

Bore, a troublesome friend or acquaintance, perhaps so called from his 
unvaried and pertinacious pushing; a nuisance; anything which wearies 
or annoys. The Gradus ad Cantabrigiam suggests the derivation of 
BORE from the Greek Bcipoc, a burden. Shaksjearevsgs it, King Henry 
VIIL, i. I 

" at this instant 

He BORBS me with some trick." 


Grose speaks of this word as being much in fashion about the year 
1780-81, and states that it vanished of a sudden without leaving a 
trace behind. That this was not so, the constant use of the word now- 
adays will prove. The late Prince Consort spoke as follows on the 
subject of BORES in his address to the British Association, at Aberdeen, 
September 14, 1859 

" I will not weary you by further examples, with which most of you are better 
acquainted than I am myself, but merely express my satisfaction that there 
should exist bodies of men who will bring the well-considered and understood 
wants of science before the public and the Government, who will even hand 
round the begging-box, and expose themselves to refusals and rebuffs, to which 
all beggars are liable, with the certainty besides of being considered great 
BORES. Please to recollect that this species of BORE is a most useful animal, 
well adapted for the ends for which nature intended him. He alone, by con- 
stantly returning to the charge, and repeating the same truths and the same 
requests, succeeds in awakening attention to the cause which he advocates, and 
obtains that hearing which is granted him at last for self-protection, as the 
minor evil compared to his importunity, but which is requisite to nuke his 
cause understood." 

Bore (Pugilistic}, to press a man to the ropes of the ring by superior 
weight. In the world of athletics to BORE is to push an opponent out 
of his course. This is a most heinous crime among rowers, as it very 
often prevents a man having the full use of the tide, or compels him to 
foul, in which case the decision of the race is left to individual judg- 
ment, at times, of necessity, erroneous. 

Bosh, nonsense, stupidity. Gipsy and Persian. Also pure Turkish, 
BOSH LAKERDI, empty talk. The term was used in this country as 
early as 1760, and may be found in the Student, vol. ii. p. 217. It has 
been suggested, with what reason the reader must judge for himself, that 
*his colloquial expression is from the German BOSH, or BOSSCH, 
answering to our word "swipes." 

Bosh, a fiddle. This is a Gipsy term, and so the exclamations " Bosh ! " 
and "Fiddle-de-dee ! " may have some remote connexion. 

Bosh-Faker, a violin player. Term principally used by itinerants. 
Bos-Ken, a farmhouse. Ancient. See KEN. 
Bosky, inebriated. Not much in use now. 

Bosnian, a farmer: "faking a BOSMAN on the main toby," robbing a 
farmer on the highway. Boss, a master. American. Both terms 
from faz Dutch, BOSCH-MAN, one who lives in the woods ; otherwise 
Boschjeman, or Bushman. 

Boss-Eyed, said of a person with one eye, or rather with one eye injured, 
a person with an obliquity of vision. In this sense sometimes varied 
by the term "swivel-eyed." 

Bostmchyzer, a small kind of comb for curling the whiskers. Oxford 

Botany Bay, Worcester Coll. Oxon., so called from its remote situation. 

Bother, trouble or annoyance. Any one oppressed with business cares is 
said to be BOTHERED. " Don't BOTHER," is a common expression, 
BLOTHER, an old word, signifying to chatter idly. 


Botheration ! trouble, annoyance ; " BOTHERATION to it !" " confound 

it !" or " deuce take it !" an exclamation when irritated. 

Bottle-Holder, originally a term in prize ring parlance for the second 
who took charge of the water-bottle, which was an essential feature in 
all pugilistic arrangements. This second used to hold the combatant 
on his knee between the rounds, while the other or principal second 
sponged, instructed, and advised ; an abettor : also the bridegroom's man 
at a wedding. Slang term for Lord Palmerston, derived from a speech 
he made some years ago when foreign secretary, in which he described 
himself as acting the part of a judicious BOTTLE-HOLDER among the 
foreign powers. 

Bottom, stamina in a horse or man. Power to stand fatigue ; endurance 
to receive a good beating and still fight on. "A fellow of pluck, 
sound wind, and good BOTTOM is fit to fight anything." This was an 
old axiom among prize fighters. Pierce Egan was very fond of the 

Bottom, spirit placed in a glass before aerated water is poured in. As, 
"a soda and a BOTTOM of brandy," "soda and dark BOTTOM," is 
American for soda and brown brandy. 

" BOTTOMED well with brandy." Bon Gaultier Ballads. 

Botts, the colic or bellyache. Stable Slang. Burns uses it. See Death 

and Dr. Hornbook. 

Botty, conceited, swaggering. Stable. An infant's posteriors. Nursery. 
Bounce, impudence, cheek. A showy swindler, a bully. 
Bounce, to boast, cheat, or bully. Old Cant. Also to lie, 
Bounceable, prone to bouncing or boasting. 
Bouncer, a erson who steals whilst bargaining with a tradesman, a 

swindler lie of more than ordinary dimensions. 
Bounder, a four-wheeled cab. Because of its jumping motion over the 

stones. Also a University term for a TRAP, which generally has a 

very rough time of it on the country roads. 

Bow-Catcher, or KISS-CURL, a small curl which a few years back used 
to be, and probably will be again some day, twisted on the cheeks or 
temples of young and often old girls, adhering to the face as if 
gummed or pasted. Evidently a corruption of BEAU-CATCHER. In 
old times this was called a lovelock, when it was the mark at which all 
the Puritan and ranting preachers levelled their pulpit pop-guns, 
loaded with sharp and virulent anuse. Hall and Prynne looked upon 
all women as strumpets who dared to let the hair depart from a 
straight line upon their cheeks. The French prettily termed these 
adornments accroche-cceurs, whilst in the United States they were 
plainly and unpleasantly called "spit-curls." Bartlett says : "Spit- 
curl," a detached lock of hair curled upon the temple ; probably from 
having been at first plastered into shape by the saliva." It is now 
understood that the mucilage of quince seed is used by the ladies for 
this purpose. When men twist the hair on each side of their laces into 
ropes they are sometimes called "bell-ropes," as being wherewith to 


draw the belles. Whether BELL- ROPES or BOW-CATCHERS, it is 
singular they should form part of a prisoner's adornment, and that a 
jaunty little kiss-curl should, of all things in the world, ornament a 
jail dock ; yet such was formerly the case. Hunt, "the accomplice 
after the fact and King's evidence against " the murderer of Weare, on 
his trial appeared at the bar with a highly pomatumed love-lock 
sticking tight to his forehead. In the days of the Civil Wars, the very 
last thing a Cavalier would part with was his love-lock. 

Bowdlerization, a term used in literary circles to signify undue strictness 
of treatment caused by over-modesty in editing a classic. To BOWD- 
LERIZE is to emasculate through squeamishness. From the name 
(Bowdler) of one of Shakspeare-s "purifiers." 

Bowlas, round tarts made of sugar, apple, and bread, sold in the streets, 
especially at the East-end of London. 

Bowles, shoes. 

Bowl Out, to put out of the game, to remove out of one's way, to 
detect. Originally a Cricketing term, but now general. 

Box-Harry, a term with bagmen or commercial travellers, implying 
dinner and tea at one meal ; also dining with " Duke Humphrey," i.t. t 
going without which see. 

Box the Compass, to repeat the thirty-two points of the compass 
either in succession or irregularly. The method used at sea to teach 
boys the points of the mariner's compass. Sea. 

Boy, a hump on a man's back. In low circles it is usual to speak of a. 
humpbacked man as two persons "him and his BOY," and from 
this much coarse fun and personality are at times evolved. 

Bracelets, handcuffs. 

Brace up, to pawn stolen goods. 

Brads, money. Properly a small kind of nails used by cobblers. Com* 

Brain-Pan, the skull, and BRAIN-CANISTER, the head. Both pugilistic 
and exchangeable terms. 

Br amble- Qelder, a derisive appellation for an agriculturist. Suffolk. 

Brandy Pawnee, brandy and water. Anglo-Indian. 

Brandy Smash, one of the 365 American drinks, made of brandy and 
crushed ice. 

Bran-New, quite new. Properly Brent, BRAND or Fire new, i.e., fresh 
from the anvil, or fresh with the manufacturer's brand upon it. 

Brass, money. ' ' Tin " is also used, and so are most forms of metal. 

Brass, impudence. In 1803 some artillerymen stationed at Norwich 
were directed to prove some brass ordnance belonging to the city. To 
the reoort delivered to the corporation was appended this note : 
" N.B. It is customary lor the corporal to have the old metal when 
any of the pieces burst." Answer. "The corporation is of opinion 
that the corporal does not want BRASS. " 

Brass-Knocker, broken victuals. Used by tramps and cadgers. 

Brat, a child of either sex. Generally used in an offensive sense. 


Brazen-Faced, impudent, shameless. From .BRASS. Such a person 
is sometimes said " to have rubbed his face with a brass candlestick." 

Brazil, a hard red wood; "HARD AS BRAZIL," a common expression. 
Quarles in his Emblems says 

" Thou know'st my brittle temper's prone to break. 
Are my bones BRAZIL or my flesh of oak ? " 

Bread-Bags, a nickname given in the army and navy to any one 
connected with the victualling department, as a purser or purveyor in 
the Commissariat. 

terms which in the old pugilistic days were given by the " Fancy " to 
the digestive organs. Blows in this region were called "porridge 
disturbers," and other fancy names, which were supposed to rob them 
of their hardness to those who did not receive them. 

Break-Down, a noisy dance, almost violent enough to break the floor 
down ; a jovial, social gathering, a " flare up;" in Ireland, a wedding 
American so far as the dance is concerned. 

Break One's Back, a figurative expression, implying bankruptcy, or 
the crippling of a person's means. 

" A story is current of a fashionable author answering a late and rather violent 
knock at his door one evening. A coal-heaver wanted to know if the gentle- 
man would like a cheap ton of coals ; he was sorry for troubling him so late, but 
'the party as had a-ordered the two ton and a-half couldn't be found,' although 
he had driven his ' waggon for six blessed hours up and down the neighbour- 
hood. Five-and-twenty is the price, but yer shall have them for 205.' Our 
author was not to be tempted, he had heard of the trick before ; so bidding 
the man go away from his house, he shut the door. The man, however, 
lingered there, expatiating on the quality of his coals 'Acterly givin' 'em 
away, and the gent wont have 'em,' said he, addressing the neighbourhood in 
a loud voice ; and the last that was heard of him was his anything but sweet 
voice whistling through the keyhole, ' Will eighteen bob BREAK YER BACK ? ' " 

Break Shins, to borrow money. Probably from an older slang phrase, 

" kick," to ask for drink-money. 

Break the Ice, to make a commencement, to plunge in medias res. 
Break Up, the conclusion of a performance of any kind originally a 

school term. 

Breaky-Leg, strong drink ; " he's been to Bungay fair, and broke 
both his legs," i.e., got drunk. In the ancient Egyptian language 
the determinative character in the hieroglyphic verb 
" to be drunk," has the significant form of the leg of 
a man being amputated. " Tangle Leg" is the name 
given to New England rum. 

Breeched, or TO HAVE THE BAGS OFF, to have plenty of money ; " to 
be well BREECHED," to be in good circumstances. Also among 
schoolboys to be well flogged. 

Breeches, "to wear the BREECHES," said of a wife who usurps the 
husband's prerogative. Equivalent to the remark that " the grey mare 
is the better horse." 

Breeching, a flogging. Term in use among boys at several private 


Breef, probably identical with BRIEF, a shortened card used for cheating 
purposes ; thus described in an old book of games of about 1 720 

" Take a pack of cards and open them, then take out all the honours . . . and cut 
little from the edges of the rest all alike, so as to make the honours broader 
than the rest, so that when your adversary cuts to you, you are certain of an 
honour. When you cut to your adversary cut at the ends, and then it is a 
chance if you cut him an honour, because the cards at the ends are all of a 
length. Thus you may make breefs end-ways as well as sideways." 

Modern card-players of a certain kind have considerably improved on 
Brooks, breeches. Scotch, now common. 

Brick, a "jolly good fellow; "a regular BRICK," a staunch fellow. 
About the highest compliment that in one word can be paid one 
man. Said to be derived from an expression of Aristotle's TiTpa- 
yaivof dvrjp. 

Bridge, a cheating trick at cards, by which any particular card is cut by 
previously curving it by the pressure of the hand. Used in France as 
well as in England, and termed in the Parisian Argot FAIRE LE PONT. 

Brief, a pawnbroker's duplicate ; a raffle card, or a ticket of any kind. 

Briefs, cards constructed on a cheating principle. See BRIDGE, CONCAVES 
and CONVEXES, LONGS, and SHORTS, REFLECTORS, &c. From the Ger- 
man, BRIEFE, which Baron Heinecken says was the name given to the 
cards manufactured 'at Ulm. BRIEF is also the synonym for a card in the 
German Roth-walsch dialect, and BRIEFEN to play at cards. " Item 
beware of the Joners, (gamblers,) who practice Beseflery with the 
BRIEF, (cheating at cards,} who deal falsely and cut one for the other, 
cheat with Boglein and spies, pick one BRIEF from the ground, and 
another from a cupboard," &c. Liber Vagatorum, ed. by Martin 
Lullier, in 1529. English translation, by J. C. Hotten, iSoo, p. 47. 

Brim, a violent irascible woman, as inflammable and unpleasant as brim- 
stone, from which the word is contracted. 

Briney, the sea. A "dip in the BRINEY" once a year is a great attraction 
to Cockney excursionists. A story is told of one excursionist saying 
to another, as they stripped in a double machine, " Why, 'Arry, what 
dirty feet you've got 1 "'Ave I ; well yer see I wasn't down last 

Bring-up, or BRING-TO, to stop suddenly, as a team of horses or a 
vessel. To BRING-UP also means to feed, clothe, and educate a child. 
To BRING-UP by hand is to bring up a newly-born child or animal 
without assistance from the natural fount. 

Brisket-Beater, a Roman Catholic. 

Broad and Shallow, an epithet applied to the so-called "Broad 
Church," in contradistinction to the "High" and "Low" Churches. 
See HIGH and DRY. 

Broad-Brim, originally applied to a Quaker only, but now used in 
reference to all quiet, sedate, respectable old men. 


Broad-Cooper, a person employed by brewers to negotiate with 

Broad-Faking, playing at cards. Generally used to denote "work" 
of the three-card and kindred descriptions. 

Broad-Fencer, a "k'rect card " seller at races 

Broads, cards. BROADSMAN, a card-sharper. See BROAD-FAKING. 

Broadway Swell, a New York term fi/r a great dandy, Broadway 
being the principal promenade in the "Empire City." 

Broady, cloth. Evidently a corruption of broadcloth. BROADY workers 
are men who go round selling vile shoddy stuff under the pretence 
that it is excellent material, which has been "got on the cross," i.e. 

Brolly, an umbrella. Term used at both Oxford and Cambridge Univer- 

Brosier, a bankrupt. Cheshire. BROSIER-MY-DAME, school term, im- 
plying a clearing of the housekeeper's larder of provisions, in revenge 
for stinginess. Eton. 

Brother-Chip, originally fellow carpenter. Almost general now as 
brother tradesman of any kind. Also, BROTHER- WHIP, a fellow coach- 
man ; and BROTHER-BLADE, of the same occupation or calling 
originally a fellow-soldier. 

Brother-Smut, a term of familiarity. "Ditto, BROTHER SMUT," tu 

Broth of a Boy, an Irish term for a jolly good fellow. 

Brown, a halfpenny. See BLUNT. 

Brown, " to do BROWN," to do well or completely, " doing it BROWN," 
prolonging the frolic, or exceeding sober bounds ; " done BROWN," 
taken in, deceived, or surprised. 

Brown Bess, the old Government regulation musket ; a musket with a 
browned barrel ; also BLACK BESS. A suggestion has been made that 
BESS may be from the German BUSCHE, or BOSCHE, a barrel. It is 
much more likely, however, that the phrase is derived from the fact that 
' ' the soldier is wedded to his weapon. " 

Brown-papermen, low gamblers. 

Brown Study, a reverie. Very common even in educated society, but 
hardly admissible in writing, and therefore considered a vulgarism. It 
is derived, by a writer in Notes and Queries, from BROW STUDY, and 
he cites the old German BRAUN, or AUG-BRAUN, an eye-brow. Ben 

Brown Talk, conversation of an exceedingly proper character, Quaker- 
ish. Compare BLUE. 

Brown to, to understand, to comprehend. 

Bruiser, a fighting man, a pugilist. Shakspeare uses the word BRUISING 
in a similar sense. 

Brum, a counterfeit coin. Nearly obsolete. Corruption of Brummagem^ 
for meaning of which see Introductory Chapter. 


Brush, a fox's tail, a house-painter. Also a scrimmage. 

Brush, or BRUSU-OFF, to run away, or move on quickly. Old Cant. 

Bub, drink of any kind. See GRUB. Middkton, the dramatist, mention! 
BUBBER, a great drinker. 

Bub, a teat, woman's breast, plural BUBBIES ; no doubt from BIBE. See 

Bubble, to over- reach, deceive, to tempt by means of false promises. 
Old. (ActaRegia, ii. 248, 1726.) 

Bubble-and-Squeak, a dish composed of pieces of cold roast or boiled 
meat and greens, afterwards fried, which have thus first BUBBLED in the 
pot, and then SQUEAKED or hissed in the/. 

Bubble-Company, a swindling association. 

Buckled, to be married. Also to be taken in custody. Both uses of 
the word common and exchangeable among the London lower classes. 

Bubbley- Jock, a turkey, or silly boasting fellow ; a prig. Scottish. 

In the north of England the bird is called a BOBBLE-COCK. Both 

names, no doubt, from its cry, which is supposed by imaginative 

persons to consist of the two words exactly. 
Buck, a gay or smart man ; an unlicensed cabman ; also a large marble 

used by schoolboys. 
Buck, sixpence. The word is rarely used by itself, but generally denotes 

the sixpence attached to shillings in reference to cost, as, "three and 

a BUCK," three shillings and sixpence. Probably a corruption of 


Buckhorse, a smart blow or box on the ear ; derived from the name of 
a celebrated "bruiser" of that name. Buckhorse was a man who 
either possessed or professed insensibility to pain, and who would 
for a small sum allow anyone to strike him with the utmost force on 
the side of the face. 

Buckle, to bend ; "I can't BUCKLE to that." I don't understand it ; to 
yield or give in to a person. Shakspeare uses the word in the latter 
sense, Henry IV., i. I ; and Hallrwell says that " the commentators do 
not supply another example." 

Buckle-Beggar, a COUPLE-BEGGAR, which see. 

Buckle-tO, to bend to one's work, to begin at once, and with great 
energy from buckling-to one's armour before a combat, or fastening 
on a bundle. 

Buckley, " Who struck BUCKLEY ? " a common phrase used to irritate 
Irishmen. The story is that an Englishman having struck an Irish- 
man named Buckley, the latter made a great outcry, and one of his 
friends mshed forth screaming, "Who struck Buckley?" " I did," 
said the Englishman, preparing for the apparently inevitable combat. 
"Then," said the ferocious Hibernian, after a careful investigation cf 
the other's thews and sinews, " then, sarve him right," 


Buckra, a white man. The original of this term is a "flogging man," 
from the Hebrew, and the application of it to the whites by the West 
Indian negroes is, therefore, rather interesting. They probably first 
learned it from a missionary. 

Buckshish, BUCKSHEESH or BACKSHEESH, a present of money. Over 
all India, and the East generally, the natives lose no opportunity of 
asking for BUCKSHISH. The usage is such a complete nuisance that 
the word is sometimes answered by a blow ; this is termed BAMBOO 
BUCKSHISH. BUCKSHISH has taken up a very firm residence in 
Europe may, in fact, on a much larger scale than that of Asia, be said. 
to have always had an existence here. BUCKSHISH is a very important 
item in the revenues of officials who hold positions of considerable im- 
portance, as well as in those of their humbler brethren. During the 
recent visit of the Shah of Persia, that potentate discovered that 
BUCKSHISH was by no means peculiar to the East. 

Budge, to move, to "make tracks." 

Budge, strong drink ; BUDGY, drunk ; BUDGING-KEN, a pablic-house ; 
" cove of the BUDGING-KEN," the landlord. Probably a corruption of 
BOOZE. Probably also, on the lucus a non lucendo principle, because 
its use made one incapable of budging. 

Buff, the bare skin ; " stripped to the BUFF." 

Buff, to swear to, or accuse ; generally used in reference to a wrongful 
accusation, as, "Oh, BUFF it on to him." Old word for boasting, 

Buffer, a navy term for a boatswain's mate, one of whose duties it is 
or was to administer the "cat." 

Buffer, a familiar expression for a jolly acquaintance, probably from 
the French BOUFFARD, a fool or clown ; a "jolly old BUFFER," said of 
a good-humoured or liberal old man. In 1737, a BUFFER was a 
" rogue that killed good sound horses for the sake of their skins, by 
running a long wire into them." Bacchus and Venus. The term 
was once applied to those who took false oaths for a consideration ; 
but though the word has fallen into disuse there is no particular reason 
for imagining that the practice has. 

Buffer, a woman employed in a Sheffield warehouse to give the final 
polish to goods previously to their being plated. 

Buffer, a dog. Dogs' skins were formerly in great request hence the 
term BUFF, meaning in old English to skin. It is still used in the 
ring, BUFFED meaning stripped naked, though the term BUFF, as ap- 
plied to the skin, is most likely due to its resemblance to the leathei 
so called. " Stripped to the BUFF," cannot have any reference to 
dog skinning, though it may have originally referred to the BUFF 
jerkins worn under defensive armour. In Irish cant, BUFFER is a 
boxer. The BUFFER of a railway-carriage doubtless received its very 
appropriate name from the old pugilistic application of this term. 

Buffle-Head, a stupid or obtuse person. Miege. German, BUFFEL- 
HAUPT, buffalo-headed. Occurs in fiautus' Comedies made English* 


Buffs, the Third Regiment of Foot in the British army. From their facings. 
Buffy, intoxicated. 

Buggy, a gig, or light chaise. Common term in America and in India, 
as well as in England. 

Bug- Hunter, a low wretch who plunders drunken men. 
Bug-Walk, a coarse term for a bed. 

Build, applied in fashionable slang to the make or style of dress, &c. 
" It's a tidy BUILD, who made it?" A tailor is sometimes called a 
" trousers' BUILDER." 

Bulger, large ; synonymous with BUSTER. 
Bulky, a constable. North. 

Bull, one who agrees to purchase stock at a future day, at a stated price, 
but who simply speculates for a rise in public securities to render the 
transaction a profitable one. Should stocks fall, the BULL is then 
called upon to pay the difference. See BEAR, who is the opposite of a 
BULL, the former selling, the latter purchasing the one operating for 
a fall, the other for a rise. 

Bull, a crown-piece, formerly BULL'S EYE. See WORK. 

Bull, term amongst prisoners for the meat served to them in jail. Also 
very frequently used instead of the word beef. The costermonger often 
speaks of his dinner, when he has beef, as a "bit o' BULL," without 
any reference to its being either tough or tender, but he never speaks of 
mutton as " sheep." 

Bull-Beef, a term of contempt ; " as ugly as BULL-BEEF," "go to the 
billy-fencer, and sell yourself for BULL-BEEF." Sometimes used to 
indicate full size of anything. " There was he, as big as BULL- BEEF." 

Bulldogs, the runners who accompany the proctor in his perambula- 
tions, and give chase to runaways. University. 

Bullet, to discharge from a situation. To shake the BULLET at anyone, 
is to threaten him with " the sack," but not to give him actual notice 
to leave. To get the BULLET is to get notice, while to get the instant 
BULLET is to be discharged upon the spot. The use of the term is 
most probably derived from a fancied connexion between it and the 
word discharge. 

Bullfinch, a hunting term for a large thick, quickset hedge, difficult 
alike to "top" or burst through. Probably a corruption of BULL- 
FENCE, a fence made to prevent cattle straying either in or out. 

Bull the Cask, to pour hot water into an empty rum puncheon, and 
let it stand until it extracts the spirit from the wood. The mixture is 
drunk by sailors in default of something stronger. Sea. 

Bully, a braggart ; >n the language of the streets, a man of the most 
degraded morals, who protects fallen females, and lives off their miser- 
able earnings. Shakspeare, in A Midsumtner Nighfs Dream, uses the 
word in its old form, as a term of endearment. This epithet is often an* 


plied in a commendable sense among the vulgar ; thus a good fellow or 
a good horse will be termed " a BULLY fellow," "a BULLY horse ; " and 
" a BULLY woman" signifies a right, good motherly old soul. Among 
Americans, " BULLY for you," is a commendatory phrase, and "that's 
BULLY " is a highly eulogistic term. 

Bullyrag, to abuse or scold vehemently ; to swindle one out of money 
by intimidation and sheer abuse. 

Bum, the part on which we sit. Shakspeare. BUMBAGS, trousers ; Gael. 
BUN, a base or bottom ; Welsh, BON, the lowest or worst part 
of anything. 

Bum-Bailiff, a sheriffs-officer a term, some say, derived from the 
proximity which this gentleman generally maintains to his victims. 
Blackstone says it is a corruption of "bound bailiff." A BUM-BAILIFF 
was generally called " bummy." 

Bumble, to muffle. BUMBLE-FOOTED, club-footed, or awkward in the 

Bumble, a beadle. Adopted from Dickens 's character in Oliver Twist. 
This and " BUMBLEDOM " are now common. 

, a game played in public-houses on a large stone, placed 
in a slanting direction, on the lower end of which holes are excavated, 
and numbered like the holes in a bagatelle-table. The player rolls a 
stone ball, or marble, from the higher end, and according to the 
number of the hole it falls into the game is counted. It is undoubtedly 
the very ancient game of Troule-in-madame. 

Bumbles, coverings for the eyes of horses that shy in harness. 
Bumbrusher, an usher at a school. 

Bumclink, in the Midland counties the inferior beer brewed for hay- 
makers and harvest labourers. Derivation obvious. 

Bum-Curtain, an old name for academical gowns when they were 
worn scant and short, especially those of the students of St. John's 
College. Camb. Univ. Ay ragged or short academical gown. 

Bummarees, a term given to a class of speculating salesmen at 
Billingsgate market, not recognised as such by the trade, but who get 
a living by buying large quantities of fish from the salesmen and re-selling 
them to smaller buyers. The word has been used in the statutes and 
bye-laws of the market for upwards of 200 years. It has been variously 
derived. Some persons think it may be from the french BONNE 
MAKE, good fresh fish ! " Maree signifie toute sorte de poisson de 
mer qui n'est pas sale ; bonne maree maree fratche, vendeur de 
maree." Diet, de FAcad. Franc. The BUMMAREES are accused of 
many trade tricks. One of them is to blow up codfish with a pipe 
until they look double their actual size. Of course when the fish 
come to table they are flabby, sunken, and half dwindled away. In 
Norwich, to BUMMAREE one is to run up a score at a public-house just 
open, and is equivalent to " running into debt with one." Ow of 


the advertisements issued by Hy. Robinson's "Office," over agai?{ 
Threadneedle Street, was this : 

" Touching Advice from the OFFICE, you are desired to give and tVe notice ea 

folio we th : 

" f\F Monies to be taken up, or delivered on Botto-maria, commonly called 


F money to be put out or taken upon interest," &c. 

The Publick Intelligencer, numb. 17, sth June, 1660. 

Bummer, literally one who sits or idles about ; a loafer ; one who 
sponges upon his acquaintances. In California, men who profess to 
be journalists, and so obtain free dinners and drinks, are called 
" literary BUMMERS." Although the term is not much in use in this 
country, the profession of bumming, both literary and otherwise, is 
freely practised. 

Bumper, according to Johnson from "bump," but probably from French 
BON piRE, the fixed toast in monastic life of old, now used for ' ' full 
measure." A match at quoits, bowls, &c., may end in a "BUMPER 
game," if the play and score be all on one side. BUMPER is used in 
sporting and theatrical circles to denote a benefit which is one in 
reality as well as in name. 

Bumptious, arrogant, self-sufficient. One on very good terms with 
himself is said to be BUMPTIOUS. 

Bunco, costermongers' perquisites ; the money obtained by giving 
light weight, &c. ; costermongers' goods sold by boys on commission. 
In fact anything which is clear profit or gain is said to be " all 
BUNCE." Probably a corruption of bonus ; BONE, or BONER, being the 
slang for good. BUNCE, Grose gives as the cant word for money. 

Bunch-Of-Fives, the hand, or fist. 

Bundle, "to BUNDLE a person off," i.e., to pack him off, send him 

Bundling, men and women sleeping together, where the divisions of the 
house will not permit of better or more decent accommodation, with 
all their clothes on. BUNDLING was originally courting done in bed, 
the lovers being tied or bundled up to prevent undue familiarities. 
The practice still obtains in some parts of Wales. 

Bung, the landlord of a public-house. Much in use among sporting 

Bung, to give, pass, hand over, drink, or to perform almost any action. 
BUNG up, to close up, as the eyes. Pugilistic. "BUNG over the 
rag," hand over the money. Old, used by Beaumont and Fletcher, 
and Shakspea r e. Also, to deceive one by a lie, to CRAM, which see. 

Bunk, to decamp. "BUNK it!" i.e., be off. 

Bunker, beer. 

Bunkum, an American importation, denoting false sentimetita in speaking, 

pretended enthusiasm, &c. The expression arose from a speech made 

by a North Carolina senator named Buncombe. 



Bunter, a prostitute, a street-walking female thief. 

Burden's Hotel, Whitecross Street Prison, of which the Governor was 
a Mr. Burdon. Almost every prison has a nickname of this kind, 
either from the name of the Governor, or from some local circumstance. 
The Queen's Bench has also an immense number of names SPIKE 
PARK, &c. ; and every Chief- Justice stands godfather to it. 

Burerk, a lady, a showily-dressed woman. 

Burke, to kill, to murder, secretly and without noise, by means of 
strangulation. From Burke, the notorious Edinburgh murderer, who, 
with an accomplice named Hare, used to decoy people into the den he 
inhabited, kill them, and sell their bodies for dissection. The wretches 
having been apprehended and tried, Burke was executed, while Hare, 
having turned king's evidence, was released. Bishop and Williams 
were their London imitators. The term BURKE is now usually applied 
to any project that is quietly stopped or stifled as ' ' the question has 
been BURKED." A book suppressed before publication is said to be 

Burra, great ; as BURRA SAIB, a great man ; BURRA KHANAH, a 
great dinner. Anglo-Indian. 

Bury a Moll, to run away from a mistress. 

Bus, or BUSS, an abbreviation of" omnibus," a public carriage. Also, a 
kiss, abbreviation of Fr. BAISER. A Mr. Shillibeer started the first 
BUS in London. A shillibeer is now a hearse and mourning coach all 
in one, used by the very poorest mourners and shabbiest undertakers. 
Why is Temple Bar like a lady's veil ? Because it wants to be removed to make 
way for the BUSSES. 

Bus, business (of which it is a contraction) or action on the stage, so 

written, but pronounced BIZ. Theatrical. See BIZ. 
Business, the action which accompanies dialogue. " His BUSINESS was 

good." Generally applied to byplay. Theatrical. 
Busk, to sell obscene songs and books at the bars and in the tap-rooms of 

public-houses. Sometimes it implies selling other articles. Also to 

" work" public-houses and certain spots as an itinerant musician or 


Busker, a man who sings or performs in a public-house; an itinerant. 
Bust, or BURST, to tell tales, to SPLIT, to inform. BUSTING, informing 

against accomplices when in custody. 
Buster (BURSTER), a small new loaf; " twopenny BUSTER," a twopenny 

loaf. "A penn'orth o' BEES-WAX (cheese) and a penny BUSTER," a 

common snack at beershops. A halfpenny loaf is called a " starver." 
Buster, an extra size ; " what a BUSTER," i.e., what a large one ; " in for 

a BUSTER," determined on an extensive frolic or spree. Scotch, BUS- 

TUOUS ; Icelandic, BOSTRA. 
UStle, money ; "to draw the BUSTLE.", a carpet-bag, 
utcha, a Hindoo word in use among Englishmen for the young of any 

animal. In England we ask after the children j in India the health 

of the BUTCHAS is tenderly inquired for 


, the king in playing-cards. When card-playing in public" 
houses was common, the kings were called butchers, the queens 
bitches, and the knaves jacks. The latter term is now in general use. 

Butcher's Mourning, a white hat with a black mourning hat- 
band. Probably because, under any circumstances, a butcher would 
rather not wear a black hat. White hats and black bands have, how- 
ever, become genteel ever since the late Prince Consort patronized 
them, though they retain a deal of the old sporting leaven. 

Butter, or BATTER, praise or flattery. To BUTTER, to flatter, cajole. 
Same as "soft soap" and "soft sawder." Soft words generally. 
Maybe from the old proverb, " Fine words butter no parsneps." 

Butter-Fingered, apt to let things fall ; greasy or slippery-fingered. 

Button, a decoy, sham purchaser, &c. At any mock or sham auction 
seedy specimens may be seen. Proba"bly from the connexion of but- 
tons with Brummagem, which is often used as a synonym for a sham. 

Buttoner, a man who entices another to play. 

Buttons, a page, from the rows of gilt buttons which adorn his jacket. 

Buttons, " not to have all one's BUTTONS ;" to be deficient in intellect. 
To " make BUTTONS " means for some occult reason to look sorry and 
sad. "He was making BUTTONS,"/.;., he was looking sorrowful 
Perhaps because button-making is a sorry occupation. 

Butty, a word used in the mining districts to denote a kind of overseer. 
Also used by the Royal Marines in the sense of comrade ; a police- 
man's assistant, one of the staff in a melee. 

Buz, to share equally the last of a bottle of wine, when there is not 
enough for a full glass to each of the party. 

Buz, a well-known public-house game, played as follows : " The chair- 
man commences saying " one," the next on the left hand " two," the 
next " three," and so on to seven, when " BUZ" must be said. Every 
seven and multipleof 7, as 14, 17, 21, 27, 28, &c., must not be mentioned, 
but " BUZ" instead. Whoever breaks the rule pays a fine, which is 
thrown on the table, and the accumulation expended in drink for the 
company. See "SNOOKS and WALKER" for more complicated 
varieties of a similar game. These " parlour pastimes" are often not 
only funny, but positively ingenious. But the Licensing Act and t 
zealous police are fast clearing them all out. 

Buz, to pick pockets ; BUZZING or BUZ-FAKING, robbing. 

BUZ -Bloke, a pickpocket who principally confines his attention to 
purses and loose cash. Grose gives BUZ-GLOAK, an ancient cant 
word. GLOAK was old cant for a man. BUZ-NAPPER, a young pick- 

Buz -mail, an informer ; from BUZ, to whisper, but more generally a 

Buz-napper's Academy, a school in which young thieves werfc 
trained. Figures were dressed up, and experienced tutors stood in 
various difficult attitudes for the boys to practise upon. When clever 

I 2 


enough they were sent on the streets. Dickens gives full particulars 
of this old style of business in Oliver Twist. 
Buzzer, a pickpocket. Grose gives BBZ-COVE and, as above mentioned, 


Byblow, an illegitimate child. 

By George, an exclamation similar to BY JOVE. The term is older than 
is frequently imagined vide Bacchus and Venus (p. 117), 1737- 
" 'P'ore (or by) GEORGE, I'd knock him down. " Originally in reference 
to Saint George, the patron saint of England, or possibly to the House 
of Hanover. 

By Golly, an ejaculation, or oath ; a compromise for "by God." BY 
GUM is another oblique oath. In the United States, small boys are 
permitted by their guardians to say GOL DARN anything, but they are 
on no account allowed to commit the profanity of G d d n any- 
thing. A manner of " sailing close to the wind" which is objection- 
able to the honest mind. A specimen ejaculation and moral waste-pipe 
for interior passion or wrath is seen in the exclamation BY THE EVER- 
LIVING JUM PING-MOSES a harmless and ridiculous phrase, that from 
its length is supposed to expend a considerable quantity of fiery anger. 

By Jingo, an oath or exclamation having no particular meaning, and 
no positive etymology, though it is believed by some that JINGO is 
derived from the Basque/<?<r0, the devil. 

Cab, in statutory language, " a hackney carriage drawn by one horse." 
Abbreviated from the French CABRIOLET; originally meaning "a light 
low chaise." The wags of Paris playing upon the word (quasi cabri 
au lait) used to call a superior turn-out of the kind a cabri au crime. 
Our abbreviation, which certainly smacks of slang, has been stamped 
with the authority of the Legislature, and has been honoured by 
universal custom. 

Cab, to stick together, to muck, or tumble up, Devonshire. 

Cabbage, pieces of cloth said to be purloined by tailors. Any small 
profits in the way of material. 

Cabbage, to pilfer or purloin. Termed by Johnson a "cant word," 
but adopted by later lexicographers as a respectable term. Said to 
have been first used in the above sense by Arbuthnot. 

Cabbage-Head, a soft-headed person. 

Cabby, popular name for the driver of a cab. This title has almost sup- 
planted the more ancient one of jarvey. 

Caboose, the galley or cook-house of a ship ; a term used by tramps to 
indicate a kitchen. 

Cackle-Tub, a pulpit. 

Cackling-Cove, an actor. Also called a MUMMERY-COVE. Theatrical. 

Cad, or CADGER (from which it is shortened), a mean or vulgar fellow ; a 
beggar ; one who would rather live on other people than work for 
himself ; a man who tries to worm something out of another, either 
money or information. Johnson uses the word, and gives huckster as 
the meaning, in which sense it was orjginaUf used. Apparently from 


CAGER, or GAGER, the old Cant term for a man. The exclusives at the 
English Universities apply the term CAD to all non-members. It has also 
been suggested that the word may be a contraction of the French CADET. 

Cad, an omnibus conductor. Of late years the term has been generically 
applied to the objectionable class immortalized by Thackeray under 
the title of snob. A great deal of caddism is, however, perpetrated by 
those who profess to have the greatest horror of it the upper classes 
a fact which goes far to prove that it is impossible to fairly ascribe a 
distinctive feature to any grade of society. 

Cadge, to beg in an artful, wheedling manner. North. In Scotland to 
CADGE is to wander, to go astray. See under CODGER. 

Cadging, begging, generally with an eye to pilfering when an oppor- 
tunity occurs. To be " on the cadge " is almost synonymous with " on 
the make." 

Cag, to irritate, affront, anger. Schoolboy slang. 

Cage, a minor kind of prison. A country lock-up which contained no 

Caginag, bad food, scraps, odds and ends ; or that which no one could 
relish. Grose give CAGG MAGGS, old and tough Lincolnshire geese, 
sent to London to feast the poor cockneys. Gael., French, and Welsh^ 
CAC, and MAGN. A correspondent at Trinity College, Dublin, con- 
siders this as originally a University slang term for a bad cook, KUKOS 
/*dypoc. There is also a Latin word used by Pliny, MAGMA, denoting 
dregs or dross. 

Cake, a " flat ;" a soft or doughy person, a fool. 

Cakey-Pannum-Fencer, G^ANNUM-FENCER, a man who sells street 

Calaboose, a prison. Sat slang, from the Spanish. 

Calculate, a word much in use among the inhabitants of the Western 

States U.S., as " I CALCULATE you are a stranger here." New 

Englanders use the word "guess" instead of CALCULATE, while the 

Virginians prefer to say "reckon." 
Caleb Quotem, a parish clerk ; a jack of all trades. From a character 

in The Wags of Windsor. 
California, or CALIFORNIANS, money. Term generally applied to gold 

only. Derivation very obvious. 
Call, a notice of rehearsal, or any other occasion requiring the company's 

presence, posted up in a theatre. " We're CALLED for eleven to-morrow 

Call-a-Go, in street "patter," is to leave off trying to sell anything and 

to remove to another spot, to desist. Also to give in, yield, at any 

game or business. Probably from the " GO" call in cribbage. 
Cameronians, THE, the Twenty-sixth Regiment of Foot in the British 

Camesa, shirt or chemise. Span. See its abbreviated form, MISH, from the 

ancient Cant, COMMISSION. Probably re-introduced by the remains of 


De Lacy Evans's Spanish Legion on their return. See Somerville's 
account of the Span. Leg. , for the curious facility with which the 
lower classes in England adopt foreign words as slaiig and cant 
terms. Italian, CAMICIA. This latter is the more likely etymology, 
as anyone who visits the various quarters where Irish, Italians, and a 
mongrel mixture of half-a-dozen races congregate and pig together, 
will admit. 

Camister, a preacher, clergyman, or master. 
Canary, a sovereign. From the colour. Very old slang indeed. 
Canister, the head. Pugilistic. 
Canister-Cap, a hat. 

Cannibals, the training boats for the Cambridge freshmen, i.e., " CAN- 

NOT-PULLS." The term is applied both to boats and rowers. See 

SLOGGERS. Torpids is the usual term for the races in which these men 

and machines figure. 

Cannikin, a small can, similar to PANNIKIN. "And let the CANNIKIN 

Cant, a blow or toss ; "a CANT over the kisser," a blow on the mouth; 

" a CANT over the buttock," a throw or toss in wrestling. 
Cantab, a student at Cambridge. 

Cantankerous, litigious, bad-tempered. An American corruption pro- 
bably of contentious. A reviewer of an early edition of this book 
derives it from the Anglo-Norman CONTEK, litigation or strife. 
Others have suggested " cankerous" as the origin. Bailey has CONTEK E, 
contention as a Spenserian word, and there is the O.E. CONTEKORS, 
quarrelsome persons. 
Cant Of TogS, a gift of clothes. 
Canvasseens, sailors' canvas trousers. 
Cap, a false cover to a tossing coin. The term and the instrument are 

both nearly obsolete. See COVER-DOWN. 
Cap, " to set her CAP." A woman is said to set her CAP at a man when 

she makes overt love to him. 
Cap, to outdo or add to, as in capping jokes; 
Cape Cod Turkey, salt fish. 

Caper-Merchant, a dancing-master. Sometimes a hop-merchant. 
Capers, dancing, frolicking ; "to cut CAPER-SAUCE," i.e., to dance 
upon nothing be hanged. Old thieves' talk. 

Capper-Clawing, female encounter, where caps are torn and nails 
freely used. Sometimes it is pronounced CLAPPER-CLAW. The word 
occurs in Shaksfieare, Troilus and Cressida, act v. sc. 4. 

Caravan, a railway train, especially a train expressly chartered to convey 
people to a prize fight. 

Caravansera, a railway station. In pugilistic phraseology a tip for 
the starting point might have been given thus. " The SCRATCH must 
be TOED at sharp five, so tiie CARAVAN will start at four from the 



Carboy, a general term in most parts of the world for a very large glass 

or earthenware bottle. 
Card, a character. ''A queer CARD," i.e., an odd fish. 

Cardinal, a lady's red cloak. A cloak with this name was in fashion in 
the year 1760. It received its title from its similarity in shape to one 
of the vestments of a cardinal. Also mulled red wine. 

Cardwell's Men, officers promoted in pursuance of the new system of 

Carney, soft hypocritical language. Also, to flatter, wheedle, or 
insinuate oneself. Prov. 

Garnish., meat, from the Ital. CAP.NE, flesh ; a Lingua Franca importa- 
tion ; CARNISH-KEN, a thieves' eating-house; "cove of the CARNISH- 
KEN," the keeper thereof. North Country Cant. 

Caroon, five shillings. French, COURONNE ; Gipsy, COURNA ; Spanish, 

Carpet, " upon the CARPET," any subject or matter that is uppermost for 
discussion or conversation. Frequently quoted as sur le tapis, or more 
generally " on the tapis," but it does not seem to be at all known in 
France. Also servants' slang. When a domestic is summoned by the 
master or mistress to receive a warning or reprimand, he or she is said to 
be CARPETED. The corresponding term in commercial establishments is 

Carpet-Knight, an habitue of drawing-rooms, a " ladies' man." 

Carrier-Pigeon, a swindler, one who formerly used to cheat lottery- 
ofricc keepers. Now used among betting men to describe one who 
runs from place to place with "commissions." 

Carriwitchet, a hoaxing, puzzling question, not admitting of a satisfac- 
tory answer, as "How far is it from the first of July to London 
Bridge?" " If a bushel of apples cost ten shillings, how long will it 
take for an oyster to eat its way through a barrel of soap?" 

Carrot. " Take a CARROT !" a vulgar insulting phrase. 

Carrots, the coarse and satirical term for red hair. An epigram gives an 
illustration of the use of this term : 

" Why scorn red hair ? The Greeks, we know, 

(I note it here in charity) 
Had taste in beauty, and with them 
The graces were all Xopcrcu. !" 

Of late years CARROTY hair in all its shades has been voted beautiful, 
i.e., fashionable. 

Carry Corn, to bear success well and equally. It is said of a man who 
breaks down under a sudden access of wealth as successful horse- 
racing men and unexpected legatees often do or who becomes affected 
and intolerant, that "he doesn't CARRY CORN well." 

Carry me Out ! an exclamation of pretended astonishment on hearing 
news too good to be true, or a story too marvellous to be believed. 
Sometimes varied by "Let me die. i.e., I can't survive that. Pro- 


fanely derived from the Nunc dimittis (Luke xi. 29). The Irish say, 
"CARRY ME OUT, and bury me decently." 

Carry-on, to joke a person to excess, to CARRY ON a "spree" too far ; 
"how we CARRIED ON, to be sure !" i.t. t what fun we had. Nautical 
term from carrying on sail. 

Carts, a pair of shoes. In Norfolk the carapace of a crab is called a crab 
cart ; hence CARTS would be synonymous with CRAB SHELLS, which 

Cart-wheel, a five-shilling piece. Generally condensed to " WHEEL." 
Ca-sa, a writ of capias ad satisfaciendam. Legal slang. 

Casa, or CASE, a house, respectable or otherwise. Probably from the 
Italian CASA. Old Cant. The Dutch use the word KAST in a vulgar 
sense for a house, i.e. , MOTTEKAST, a brothel. CASE sometimes means 
a water-closet, but is in general applied to a " house of accommodation." 
CASA is generally pronounced carzey. 

Cascade, to vomit. 

Case. Some years ago the term CASE was applied generally to persons 
or things ; " what a CASE he is," i.e., what a curious person ; "a rum 
CASE that," or "you are a CASE, " both synonymous with the phrase 
"odd fish," common half a century ago. This would seem to have 
been originally a " case " for the police-court ; drunkenness, &c. Among 
young ladies at boarding-schools a CASE means a love-affair. CASE 
now means any unfortunate matter. " I'm afraid it's a CASE with him." 

Case, a bad crown-piece. HALF-A-CASE, a counterfeit half-cr^wn. 
There are two sources, either of which may have contributed this 
slang term. CASER is the Hebrew word for a crown ; and silver 
coin is frequently counterfeited by coating or CASING pewter or iron 
imitations with silver. Possibly from its being "a CASE" with the 
unfortunate owner. 

Cask, fashionable slang for a brougham, or other private carriage. Not 
very general. " PILLBOX " is the more usual term. 

Cassam, cheese not CAFFAN, which Egan, in his edition of Grose, has 
ridiculously inserted. Ancient Cant. Latin, CASEUS. Gael, and 
Irish, CAISE. 

Cast, to assist by lightening labour. Men in small boats who want to be 
towed behind steamers or sailing vessels, say " Give us a CAST." Also 
used by waggoners and others, who sometimes vary the performance 
by asking, when stuck on a hill, for a pound, possibly a pound of flesh, 
horse or human. 

Cast up Accounts, to vomit. Old. 

Castor, a hat. Mostly used in pugilistic circles. Indeed many hangeis- 
on of the P.R. have considered that the term arose from the custom of 
casting the hat into the ring, before entering oneself. CASTOR was 
the Latin name for the animal now known as the BEAVER ; and, strange 
to add, BEAVER was the slang for CASTOR, or hat, many years ago, 
before gossamer came into fashion. 


Cat, a lady's muff; "to free a CAT," i.e., steal a muff. 

Cat, to vomit like a cat. Perhaps from CATARACT ; but see SHOOT THE 

Cat CAT o' NINE TAILS, a whip with that number of lashes used to 

punish refractory sailors. Sea. The " cat " is now a recognised term 

for the punishmental whip. 

Catamaran, a disagreeable old woman. Thackeray. 
Cat and Kitten Sneaking, stealing pint and quart pots and small 

pewter spirit measures from public-houses. 
Cataract, once a black satin scarf arranged for the display of jewellery, 

much in vogue among " commercial gents." Now quite out of date., a bet made for the purpose of entrapping the unwary by 

means of a paltry subterfuge. See CHERRY COLOUR. 
Catch-'em- Alive, a humane trap ; also a small-tooth comb. A piece 

of paper smeared with a sweet sticky substance which is spread about 

where flies most abound, and in this sense not particularly humane. 

The CATCH-'EM-ALIVE trap for rats and other such animals is humane 

compared with the gin trap. 
Catch-penny ,ny temporary contrivance to obtain money from the 

public ; penny shows, or cheap exhibitions. Also descriptions of 

murders which have never taken place. 

Catchy (similar formation to touchy}, inclined to take an undue advantage. 
Caterwauling, applied derisively to inharmonious singing ; also love- 
making, from the noise of cats similarly engaged. 
Catever, a queer, or singular affair ; anything poor, or very bad. From 

the Lingua Franca, and Italian, CATTIVO, bad. Variously spelled by 

the lower orders. See KERTEVER. 
Cat-faced, a vulgar and very common expression of contempt in the 

North of England. 
Catgut- Scraper, a fiddler. 
Cat-in-the-Pan, a traitor, a turncoat derived by some from the 

Greek, Karairav, altogether ; or and more likely from cake in fan, 

a pan-cake, which is frequently turned from side to side. 
Cat-lap, a contemptuous expression for weak drink. Anything a cat will 

drink is very innocuous. 
Cats and Dogs. It is said to rain cats and dogs when a shower is 

exceptionally heavy. Probably in ridicule of the remarkable showers 

which used to find their way into the papers during the " silly season." 
Cat's-meat, a coarse term for the lungs the "lights" or lungs of 

animals being usually sold to feed cats. 
Cat's-paw, a dupe or tool. From the old story of the monkey who 

used the cat's-paw to remove his roast chestnuts from the fire. A sea 

term, meaning light and occasional breezes occurring in calm weather. 

Cat's-water, " old Tom," or gin. 

Cattle, a term of contempt applied to the mob, or to a lot of lazy, help- 
lets servants. 


Caucus, a private meeting held for the purpose of concerting measures, 
agreeing upon candidates for office before an election, &c. This is an 
American term, and a corruption of CAULKER'S MEETING, being 
derived from an association of the shipping interest at Boston, previous 
to the War of Independence, who were very active in getting up oppo- 
sition to England. See Pickerings Vocabulary, 

Caulk, to take a surreptitious nap ; sleep generally, from the ordinary 
meaning of the term ; stopping leaks, repairing damages, so as to 
come out as good as new. Sea term. 

Caulker, a dram. The term "caulker" is usually applied to a stiff 
glass of grog preferably brandy finishing the potations of the even- 
ing. See WHITEWASH. 

Caulker, a too marvellous story, a lie. CHOKER has the same sense. 

Caution, anything out of the common way. "He's a CAUTION," is 
said of an obdurate or argumentative man. The phrase is also used 
in many ways in reference to places and things. 

Cavaulting, a vulgar phrase equivalent to "horsing." The Italian 

CAVALLINO, signifies a rake or debauchee. Lingua Franca, CAVOLTA. 

From this comes the Americanism "cavorting," running or riding 

round in a heedless or purposeless manner. 
Cave, or CAVE IN, to submit, shut up. American. Metaphor taken from 

the sinking of an abandoned mining shaft. 

Chaff, to gammon, joke, quiz, or praise ironically. Originally "to 
queer" represented our modern word "CHAFF." CHAFF-bone, the 
jaw-bone. Yorkshire. CHAFF, jesting. In Anglo-Saxon, CEAF is 
chaff; and CEAFL, bill, beak, or jaw. In the Ancren Riwle, A.D. 
1221, CEAFLE is used in the sense of idle discourse. 

Chaffer, the mouth; "moisten your CHAFFER," /.<., take something to 


Clial, old Romany term for a man ; CHIE was the name for a woman. 
Chalk out, or CHALK DOWN, to mark out a line of conduct or action ; 

to make a rule or order. Phrase derived from the Workshop. 

Chalk up, to credit, make entry in account books of indebtedness ; "I 
can't pay you now, but you can CHALK IT UP," i.e., charge me with 
the article in your day-book. From the old practice of chalking one's 
score for drink behind the bar-doors of public-houses. 

Chalks, " to walk one's CHALKS," to move off, or run away. An ordeal 
for drunkenness used on board ship, to see whether the suspected 
person can walk on a chalked line without overstepping it on either 

Chalks, degrees, marks ; so called from being made by a piece of chalk ; 
"to beat by long CHALKS," i.e., to be superior by many degrees. 
" Making CHALKS " is a term connected with the punishment of boys 
on board ship, and in the Naval School at Greenwich. Two chalk 
lines are drawn wide apart on the deck or floor, and the boy to be 
punished places a foot on each of these lines, and stoops, thereby 


presenting a convenient portion of his person to the boatswain or 

Chance the Ducks, an expression signifying come what may. " I'll 
do it, and CHANCE THE DUCKS." 

Chancery, a pugilistic phrase for difficulties ; "to get a man's head into 
CHANCERY, ' i.e., to get an opponent's head firmly under one's arm, 
where it can be pommelled with immense power, and without any 
possibility of immediate extrication. From the helplessness of a suitor 
in Chancery. This opportunity was of very rare occurrence when the 
combatants were at all evenly matched. 

Change, small money. The overplus returned after paying for a thing 
in a round sum. Hence a slang expression used when a person 
receives a ' ' settler " in the shape of either a repartee or a blow 
" Take your CHANGE out of that 1" 

Chap, a fellow, a boy ; "a low CHAP," a low fellow abbreviation of 
CHAPMAN, a huckster. Used by Byron in his Critical Remarks. 

Chapel, a printers' assembly, held for the purpose of discussing diffe- 
rences between employer and workmen, trade regulations, or other 
matters. The term is scarcely slang, but some " comps" ask its insertion 
in this work. 

Chapel. An undergrad is expected to attend seven out of the fourteen 
services in chapel each week, and to let four or five be morning 
chapels. Occasionally a Don the Dean as a rule will "CHAPEL" 
him, that is, order him to attend to worship his Creator twice daily. 
The Bible clerk "pricks the list," i.e., marks down the names of at 
present. Univ. 

Chapel-of-ease. French, CABINET D'AISANCE, a house of office. 

Chariot-buzzing, picking pockets in an omnibus. 

Charley, a watchman, a beadle. Almost obsolete now. 

Charley-pitcher, a low, cheating gambler. 

Charlies, a woman's breasts. Also called dairies and bubbles. 

Chats, lice, or body vermin. Prov., any small things of the same kind. 

Chatter -basket, common term for a prattling child amongst nurses. 

Chatter -box, an incessant talker or chatterer. 

Chatty, a filthy person, one whose clothes are not free from vermin ; 
DOSSER is a filthy tramp or houseless wanderer. 

Chaunt, to sing the contents of any paper in the streets. CANT, as ap- 
plied to vulgar language, may have been derived from CHAUNT. 

Chaunt, "to CHAUNT the play," to explain the tricks and manoeuvres 
of thieves. 

Chaunter-CUlls, a singular body of men who used to haunt certain 
well-known public-houses, and write satirical or libellous ballads on 
any person, or body of persons, for a consideration. 7-f. (>d. was the 
usual fee, and in three hours the ballad might be heard in St. Paul's 


Churchyard, or other public spot. Strange as it may appear, there 
are actually two men in London at the present day who gain their 
living in this way. Very recently they were singing before the esta- 
blishment of a fashionable tailor in Regent Street ; and not long since 
they were bawling their doggrel rhymes outside the mansion of a 
Norfolk M.P., in Belgravia.* 

Chaunters, those street sellers of ballads, last copies of verses, and 
other broadsheets, who sang or bawled the contents of their papers. 
They often termed themselves PAPER WORKERS. Cheap evening 
papers and private executions have together combined to improve these 
folks' occupations off the face of the earth. See HORSE-CHAUNTERS. 

Chaw, to chew ; CHAW UP, to get the better of one, finish him up ; 
CHAWED UP, utterly done for. 

Chaw-bacon, a rustic. Derived from the popular idea that a country- 
man lives entirely on bread and fat bacon. A country clown, a joskin, 
"okel, a clodcrusher. These terms are all exchangeable. 

Chr ,f over, to repeat one's words with a view to ridicule. 

Cheap, "doing it on the CHEAP," living economically, or keeping up a 
showy appearance with very little means. 

Cheap Jacks, or JOHNS, oratorical hucksters and patterers of hardware, 
who put an article up at a high price, and then cheapen it by degrees, 
indulging all the time in velleys of coarse wit, until it becomes to all 
appearance a bargain, and as such it is bought by one of the crowd. 
The popular idea is that the inverse method of auctioneering saves 
them paying for the auction licence. See DUTCH AUCTION. 

Checks, counters used in games at cards. In the Pacific States of 
America a man who is dead is said to have handed (or passed) in his 
checks. The gamblers there are responsible for many of the collo- 
quialisms current. 

Chee-Chee, this word is used in a rather offensive manner to denote 
Eurasians, + or children by an English father and native mother. It 
takes its origin in a very common expression of half-caste females, 
"CHEE-CHEE," equivalent to our Oh, fie ! Nonsense ! For shame I 
A nglo- Indian. 

Cheek, share or portion; "where's my CHEEK?" where is my allow- 
ance? " All to his own CHEEK," all to himself. 

* Since the first edition of this work a great alteration has taken place in this respect. 
Though topical ballads are now often sung, the singers confine themselves to low neigh- 
bourhoods, and as soon as a policeman approaches, if ever he does, they make themselves 
scarce. The practice is singular. One man gets as far through a line as he can, and 
when his voice cracks his companion takes up. For this reason the business is as a 
rule conducted by a man and woman, or sometimes by a woman and child. The writing 
of these ditties is generally work of a character for which even ^s. (>d. would be a high 
rate of pay. ED 

t Eurasian is not a child of mixed race, but one born of European parents in an Asiatic 
clime. A similar error exists with regard to the word Creole, which is generally supposed 
to mean a man or woman in whom white and black strains are mixed. I need not say 
bow wrong thi* is, but the vulgar error is none the less current. ED. 


Cheek, impudence, assurance ; CHEEKY, saucy or forward. 
Cheek, to irritate by impudence, to accuse. 

Cheek by Jowl, side by side said often of persons in such close con- 
fabulation that their faces almost touch. 

Cheese, anything good, first-rate in quality, genuine, pleasant, or advan- 
tageous, is termed the CHEESE. The London Guide, 1818, says it was 
from some young fellows translating "c'est une autre CHOSE " into 
" that is another CHEESE." But the expression CHEESE may be found 
in the Gipsy vocabulary, and in the Hindostanee and Persian languages. 
In the last CHIZ means a thing that is the thing, i.e., the CHEESE. 

Cheese, or CHEESE IT (evidently a corruption of cease), leave off, or have 
done ; CHEESE your barrikin," hold your noise. Term very common. 

Cheesecutter, a prominent and aquiline nose. Also a large square 
peak to a cap. Caps fitted with square peaks are called cheese- 
cutter caps. 

Cheesemongers, once a popular name for the First Lifeguards. Until 
the Peninsular War the First Lifeguards, from their almost exclusive 
service at home, were nicknamed CHEESEMONGERS. This term then 
fell into desuetude ; but at Waterloo the commanding officer of the 
regiment had not forgotten it, and when leading his men to the charge, 
called out, " Come on, you damned CHEESEMONGERS !" an invitation 
complied with so readily, that the title was restored, with the difference 
that it was no longer a word of reproach. 

Cheesy, fine or showy. The opposite of " dusty. " 

Cherry-bums, or CHERUBIMS, a nickname given to the nth Hussars, 
from their crimson trousers. 

Cherry-colour, either red or black, as you wish ; a term used in a 
cheating trick at cards. When the cards are being dealt, a knowing 
one offers to bet that he will tell the colour of the turn-up card. 
" Done !" says Mr. Green. The sum being named, Mr. Sharp affirms 
that it will be CHERRY-COLOUR ; and as cherries are either black or 
red, he wins, leaving his victim a wiser man, it is to be hoped, and 
not a better for the future. It may be as well for the habitually un- 
fortunate to know that wagers of this kind are not recoverable even 
according to the sporting code, which disacknowledges all kinds of 

Cherry-merry, a present of money. CHERRY-MERRY-BAMBOO, a 

beating. Anglo-Indian, 

Cherubs, or still more vulgarly, CHERUBIMS, the chorister boys who 
chaunt in the services at the abbeys and cathedrals. Possibly because 
in some places their heads alone are visible. 

Cheshire Cat, to grin liks a CHESHIRE CAT, to display the teeth and 
gums when laughing. Formerly the phrase was "to grin like a 
CHESHIRE CAT eating cheese." A hardly satisfactory explanation has 
been given of this phrase that Cheshire is a county palatine, and the 


cats, when they think of it, are so tickled with the notion that they 
can't help grinning,* 

Chicken, a term applied to anything young, small, or insignificant ; 
CHICKEN STAKES, small paltry stakes ; "she's no CHICKEN," said of 
an old maid. 
Chicken-hearted, cowardly, fearful. With about the amount of 

pluck a chicken in a fright might be supposed to possess. 
Chi-ike, to hail in a rough though friendly manner ; to support by means 

of vociferation. 

Chi-ike, a hail ; a good loud word of hearty praise ; term used by the 
costermongers, who assist the sale of each other's goods by a little 
friendly, although noisy, commendation. 

Children's Shoes (to make), to be made nought of. See SHOES. 
Chill, to warm, as beer. This at first seems like reversing the order of 

things, but it is only a contraction of " take the CHILL off." 
Chimney-Sweep, the aperient mixture commonly called a black 


Chin-chin, a salutation, a compliment. Anglo- Chinese. 
Chink, or CHINKERS, money. Ancient. Derivation obvious 
Chin-wag, officious impertinence. 

Chip of the Old Block, a child which physically or morally resembles 
its father. BROTHER CHIP, one of the same trade or profession. 
Originally brother carpenter, now general. 
Chips, money ; also a nickname for a carpenter. Sea. 
Chirp, to give information, to "peach." 
Chisel, to cheat, to take a slice off anything. Hence the old conundrum : 

" Why is a carpenter like a swindler? Because he chisels a deal." 
Chit, a letter ; corruption of a Hindoo word. Anglo-Indian. 
Chitterlings, the shirt frills once fashionable and worn still by ancient 
beaux ; properly the entrails of a pig, to which they are supposed to 
bear some resemblance. Belgian SCHYTERLINGH. 
Chivalry, coition. Probably a corruption from the Lingua Franca. 

Perhaps from CHEVAULCHER. 

Chive, or CHIVEY, a shout, a halloo, or cheer ; loud tongued. Probably 

from CHEVY-CHASE, a boy's game, in which the word CHEVY is bawled 

aloud. Dickens uses the word CHIVEY in Bleak House rather freely, 

but there it is from the other phase of CHEVY-CHASE which follows. 

Chive, a knife ; also used as a verb, to knife. In all these cases the word 

is pronounced as though written CHIV or CHIVVY. 
Chive-Fencer, a street hawker of cutlery. 

Chivey, to chase round, or hunt about. Apparently from CHEVY- 
CHASE. See above. 

* There is something so extremely humorous and far-fetched about this explanation, 
that though it is utterly unworthy of its place in a dictionary, I, finding it there, have not 
the heart to cut * ut. ED. 


Choakee, or CHOKEY, the black hole. Military Anglo-Indian. 
Chokey is also very vulgar slang for prison. 

Chock-FllU, full till the scale comes down with a shock. Originally 
CHOKE-FULL, and used in reference to theatres and places of amuse- 

Choke Off, to get rid of. Bulldogs can only be made to loose their 
hold by choking them. * Suggestively to get rid of a man by sayir^ 
something to him which "sticks in his gizzard." 

Choker, a cravat, a neckerchief. WHITE-CHOKER, the white necker- 
chief worn by mutes at a funeral, waiters at a tavern, and 
gentlemen in evening costume. Clergymen and Exeter Ilalliles are 
frequently termed WHITE-CHOKERS. 

Choker, or WIND-STOPPER, a garotter. 

Chonkeys, a kind of mincemeat, baked in a crust, and sold in the 

Choops, a corruption of CHOOPRAHO, keep silence. Anglo-Indian. 

Chootah, small, insignificant. Anglo-Indian. 

Chop, in the Canton jargon of Anglo- Chinese, this word has several sig- 
nifications. It means an official seal, a permit, a boat load of teas. 
FIRST CHOP signifies first quality ; and CHOP-CHOP, to make haste. 

Chop, to exchange, to "swop." To CHOP and change, to be as variable 
as the wind. 

Chops, properly CHAPS, the mouth, or cheeks ; " down in the CHOPS," 
or "down in the mouth," i.e., sad or melancholy. 

Chouse, to cheat out of one's share or portion. ffackluyt, CHAUS ; 
Massinger, CHIAUS. From the Turkish, in which language it signifies 
an interpreter. Gifford gives a curious story as to its origin : 

** In the year 1609 there was attached to the Turkish embassy in England an Inter- 
preter, or CHIAOUS, who, by cunning, aided by his official position, managed 
to cheat the Turkish and Persian merchants, then in London, out of the large 
sum of .4000, then deemed an enormous amount. From the notoriety which 
attended the fraud, and the magnitude of the swindle, any one who cheated or 
defrauded was said to cJtiaous, or cliause, or CHOUSE ; to do, that is, as thu 
Ckiaous had done." See Trench, Eng, Past and Present. 

CHIAUS, according to Sandys (Travels, p. 48), is "one who goes oa 
embassies, executes commandments," &c. The particular Cliiaus in 
question is alluded to in Ben Jonson's Alchymist, 1610. 
" D. What do you think of me T 

That I am a CHIAUS? 

Face. What's thatT 

D. The Turk [who] was here. 

As one would say, do you think I am a Turk!" 

Chout, an entertainment. East-end of London. 
Chovey, a shop. Costermonger, 

Chow-Chow, a mixture, food of any kind. Also chit-chat and gossip. 
Anglo- Chinese. 

* Of course by those who don't know the scientific way used in "canine exhibition** 
fed dog-fights of biting their tails till they turn round to bite the biter. UD. 


Chowdar, a fool. Anglo-Chinese. 

Christening, erasing the name of the maker, the number, or any 
other mark, from a stolen watch, and inserting a fictitious one in its 

Chubby, round-faced, plump. Probably from the same derivative as 

CHUB, which means literally a fish with a big head. 
Chuck, bread or meat ; in fact, anything to eat. Also a particular kind 

of beefsteak. 

Chuck, a schoolboy's treat. Westminster School. Provision for an 

entertainment. Hard CHUCK is sea biscuit 
Chuck, to throw or pitch. 
Chuck a Jolly, to bear up or bonnet as when a costermonger 

praises the inferior article his mate or partner is trying to sell. Set 


Chuck a Stall, to attract a person's attention while a confederate picks 

his pockets, or otherwise robs him. 
Chuck in, to challenge from the pugilistic custom of throwing a hat 

into the ring; a modern version of "throwing down the gauntlet." 

This term seems to have gone out of fashion with the custom which 

gave rise to it. 

Chuckle-head, much the same as "buffle head," "cabbage head," 
" chowder head, " "cod's head," all signifying that large abnormal 
form of skull generally supposed to accompany stupidity and weakness 
of intellect; as the Scotch proverb, " muckle head and little wit." 
Originally Devonshire, but now general. 

Chucks ! Schoolboy's signal on the master's approach. 

Chuck up, to surrender, give in from the custom of throwing up the 
sponge at a prize-fight in token of yielding. This is very often cor- 
rupted into "jack up." 

Chuff it, i.e., be off, or take it away, in answer to a street seller who is 
importuning you to purchase. Halli-well mentions CHUFF as a " term 
of reproach," surly, &c. 

Chu.ll, make haste. An abbreviation of the Hindostanee CHULLO, signi- 
fying "g along." CHULL is very commonly used to accelerate the 
motions of a servant, driver, or palanquin-bearer. 

Chum, an intimate acquaintance. A recognised term, but in such 
frequent use with slangists that it almost demands a place here. 
Stated to be from the Anglo-Saxon, CUMA, a guest. 

Chum, to occupy a joint lodging with another person. Latin, CUM. 

Chumming-up, an old custom amongst prisoners before the present 
regulations were in vogue, and before imprisonment for debt was 
abolished ; when a fresh man was admitted to their number, rough 
music was made with pokers, tongs, sticks, and saucepans. For this 
ovation the initiated prisoner had to pay, or " fork over," half-a-crown 
submit to a loss of coat and waistcoat 


Chummy, a chimney-sweep probably connected with chimney ; also a 

low-crowned felt hat. Sometimes, but rarely, a sweep is called a 

clergyman from his colour. 
flhump, the head or face. Also one end of a loin of mutton. A half- 

idiotic or daft person is said to be off his chump. 
Chunk, a thick or dumpy piece of any substance, as a CHUNK of bread or 

meat. Kentish. 
Church a yack (or watch), to take the works of a watch from its 

original case, and put them into another one, to avoid detection. Set 


Churchwarden, a long pipe, "a yard of clay;" probably so called 

from the dignity which seems to hedge the smoker of a churchwarden, 

and the responsibility attached to its use. Sometimes called an 

Cinder, any liquor used in connexion with soda-water, as to " take a 

soda with a CINDER in it." The cinder may be sherry, brandy, or any 

other liquor. 

Circumbendibus, a roundabout way, a long-winded story. 
Clack-box, a garrulous person, so called from the rattle formerly used by 

vagrants to make a rattling noise and attract attention. Norfolk. 
** A common proverb in this county is, "your tongue goes like A 

BAKER'S CLAP-DISH," which is evidently a modern corruption of the 

beggars' CLAP or CLACK-DISH mentioned in Measure Jor Measure. It 

was a wooden dish with a movable cover. 

Claggum, boiled treacle in a hardened state, hardbake. See CLIGGY. 
Clam, or clem, to starve. North. 
Clap, to place; "do you think you can CLAP your hand on him?" 

i.f., find him out. CLAP is also a well-known form of a contagious 

Clapper, the tongue. Said of an over-talkative person, to be hung in the 

middle and to sound with both ends. 
Clap-trap, high-sounding nonsense. An ancient theatrical term for a 

"TRAP to catch a CLAP by way of applause from the spectators at a 

play." Bailey's Dictionary. 

Claret, blood. Pugilistic. Otherwise Badminton which see. 
Clashy, a low fellow, a labourer. Anglo-Indian. 
Class, the highest quality or combination of highest qualities among 

athletes. " He's not CLASS enough," i.e., not good enough. " There's 

a deal of CLASS about him," i.e., a deal of quality. The term as used 

this way obtains to a certain extent among turfites. 
Clawhammer coat, an American term for a tail-coat used in evening 

costume. Also known as a steel-pen coat. 
Clean, quite, or entirely ; " CLEAN gone," entirely out of sight, or away. 

Old, see Cotgrave and Shakspeare. CLEAN CONTRARY, quite 
different, opposite. 

Clean out, to ruin, or make bankrupt any one ; to take all he has got, 



by purchase, chicane, or force De Quincey, in his article on Richard 
Bentley, speaking of the lawsuit between that great scholar and Dr. 
Colbatch, remarks that the latter "must have been pretty well CLEANED 
OUT." The term is very general. 

Click, a knock or blow. CLICK-HANDED, left-handed. Cornish. A 
term in Cumberland and Westmoreland wrestling for a peculiar kind 
of throw, as "an inside CLICK," or " an outside CLICK." 

Click, to snatch, to pull away something that belongs to another. 

Clickor, a female touter at a bonnet shop. In Northamptonshire, the 
cutter out in a shoemaking establishment. In the Dictionary of the 
Terms, Ancient and Modern, of ike Canting Crew, Lond. n. d. (but 
prior to 1700), the CLICKER is described as " the shoemaker's journey- 
man or servant, that cutts out all the work, and stands at or walks 
before the door, and saies ' What d'ye lack, sir ? what d'ye buy, 
madam ?' " In a printing-office, a man who makes up the pages, and 
who takes work and receives money for himself and companions. 

Clif t, to steal. 

Cliggy, or CLIDGY, sticky. Anglo-Saxon, CLJEG, clay. See CLAGGUM. 

Clinch (to get the), to be locked up in jail. 

Clincher, that which rivets or confirms an argument, an incontrover- 
tible position. Also a lie which cannot be surpassed, a stopper-up, 
said to be derived as follows : Two notorious liars were backed to 
outlie each other. " I drove a nail through the moon once," said the 
first. "Right," said the other; "I recollect the circumstance well, 
for I went round to the back part of the moon and clinched it " hence 


Cling -rig, stealing tankards from public-houses, &c. 

Clipper, a fine fast-sailing vessel. Applied also as a term of encomium 

to a handsome woman. 

Clipping, excellent, very good. CLIPPER, anything showy or first-rate. 
Clock, a watch. Watches are also distinguished by the terms " red 

clock," a gold watch, and "white clock," a silver watch. Generally 

modified into " red'un" and " white'un." 

Clock, " to know what's O'CLOCK," to be " up, down, fly and awake," to 
know everything about everything a definition of knowingness in 
general. See TIME o' DAY. 

Clod-hopper, a country clown. 

Cloud, TO BE UNDER A, to be in difficulties, disgrace or disrepute ; in 
fact, to be in shady circumstances. 

Clout, or RAG, a cotton pocket-handkerchief. Old Cant. Now "clouts" 
means a woman's under-clothes, from the waist downwards, i.e., petti- 
coats when they are on the person ; but the term is extended to mean 
the whole unworn wardrobe. Probably St. Giles's satire, having 
reference to the fact that few women there possess a second gown. 

Clout, an intentional heavy blow. 

Clover, happiness, luck, a delightful position from the supposed extra 


enjoyment which attends cattle when they suddenly find their quarters 
changed from a barren field to * meadow of clover. Among betting 
men he who has arranged his wagerings so satisfactorily before an 
event that he cannot possibly lose, and may win a good deal, is said to 
be in clover, a phrase which is sometimes varied by the remark that 
"he stands on velvet." Any one who is provided for, so that he can 
look forward to a term of ease and enjoyment for the rest of his life, is 
also said to be in clover. 

Club, in manoeuvring troops, so to blunder in giving the word of command 
that the soldiers get into a position from which they cannot extricate 
themselves by ordinary tactical means. Young officers frequently 
" CLUB " their men, and get consequently " wigged " by the inspecting 

Clump, to strike, to beat. Prav. 

Cly, a pocket. Old Cant for to steal. A correspondent derives this word 
from the Old English, CLEYES, claws ; Anglo-Saxon, CLEA. This pro- 
nunciation is still retained in Norfolk ; thus, to CLY would mean to 
pounce upon, to snatch. See FRISK. Gael., CLIAH (pronounced GLEE), 
a basket. 

Cly-faker, a pickpocket. 

Coach, a private tutor. Originally University, but now general. Any 
man who now trains or teaches another, or others, is called a coach. 
To coach is to instruct as regards either physical or mental acquire- 
ments. A private tutor is sometimes termed a RURAL COACH when he 
is not connected with a college. At Rugby a flogging is termed a 
" coaching." 

Coach-wheel, or TUSHEROON, a crown-piece, or five shillings. 

Coal, money; "post the COAL," put down the money. The phrase was 
used by Mr. Buckstone at the Theatrical Fund Dinner of 1863. From 
this is derived the theatrical term COALING, profitable, very good, 
which an actor will use if his part is full of good and telling speeches 
thus, " my part is full of COALING lines." This term was used in the 
sporting world long anterior to Mr. Buckstone's speech. See COAL. 

Coals, "to haul (or pull) over the COALS," to take to task, to scold. Sup- 
posed by Jamieson to refer to the ordeal by fire. To "take one's coals 
in," is a term used by sailors to express their having caught the venereal 
disease. It means that they have gotten that which will keep them 
hot for a good many months. 

Cobbing, a punishment inflicted by sailors and soldiers among them- 
selves. See Grose and Captain Marryat's novels. A hand-saw is the 
general instrument of punishment. 

Cock, a familiar term of address ; "jolly old COCK," a jovial fellow, " how 
are you, old COCK?" Frequently rendered nowadays, COCK-E-E, a 
vulgar street salutation probably a corruption of COCK-EYE. The latter 
is frequently heard as a shout or street cry after a man or boy. 

Cock, a smoking term ; "COCKING a Broseley," i.e., smoking a pip. 
Broseley in Shropshire is famous for "churchwardens." A "COCK" 

K 2 


is an apocryphal story, generally, of a murder or elopement bawled 
about the streets by the Seven Dials' "patterers." 

Cock, a pugilistic term for a man who is knocked out of time. " Knocked 
him a reg'lar COCK." Sometimes used to signify knocked out of shape, 
as, "Knocked him A-COCK," probably connected with "cocked-hat 
shape." A horse who has been backed by the public, but who does 
not run, or, running, does not persevere. 

Cock, " to COCK your eye," to shut or wink one eye, to make " sheep's- 

Cock-a-hoop, in high spirits. Possibly the idea is from the fact that, 

if a cock wins a fight, he will mount on anything near, and crow lustily 

and jubilantly. It is noticeable that under these circumstances a cock 

always gets off the ground-level if he can. 

Cockalorum, or COCKYLORUM, amplification of cock or cocky. 

Cock and. bull Story, a long, rambling anecdote. See Peroration 
to Tristram Shandy. 

Cock-and-tien-club, a free and easy gathering, or "sing-song," 
where females are admitted as well as males. 

Cock-and-pinch, the old-fashioned beaver hat, affected by "swells" 
and ' ' sporting gents" forty years ago COCKED back and front, and 
PINCHED up at the sides. 

Cock-a-wax, an amplification of the simple term COCK, sometimes 
"Lad of WAX," originally applied to a cobbler, but now general. 

Cocked-hat-dub, the principal clique amongst the members of the 
Society of Antiquaries, who virtually decide whether any person pro- 
posed shall be admitted or not. The term comes from the " cocked- 
hat " placed before the president at the sittings. There was another 
cocked-hat club in London not many years back, which had nothing 
peculiar about it beyond the fact that every member wore during club 
sittings, a ' ' fore-and-aft " cocked-hat. Otherwise the proceedings were 
of the most ordinary kind., shapeless: Anything which has been altered 
beyond recognition, or any man who has been put completely hors de 
combat, is said to have been knocked into a COCKED-HAT. 

Cocker, " It is all right, according to Cocker," meaning that everything 
has been done in accordance with the present system of figures. The 
phrase refers to the celebrated writing-master of Charles II. 's time, 
whose Arithmetic, Dictionary, &c., were long the standard authorities. 
The Arithmetic was first published in 1677-8, and, though it reached 
more than sixty editions, is considered a very scarce book. Professor 
de Morgan says that the main goodness of Cocker's Tutor consists in his 
adopting the abbreviated system of division ; and suggests that it 
became a proverbial representative of arithmetic from Murphy's farce 
of The Apprentice, 1756, in which the strong point of the old merchant, 
Wingate, is his extreme reverence for Cocker and his arithmetic. A 
curious factmay here be mentioned in connexion with this saying. It ha* 


been stated, and very well proved, that many words popular in Shak- 
speare's time, and now obsolete in this country, are still in every-day 
use in the older English settlements of North America. The original 
compiler of this work was surprised, when travelling through Western 
Canada, to find that, instead of the renowned Cocker, the people ap- 
pealed to another and more learned authority. " According to 
Gunter," is a phrase in continual Transatlantic use. This scientific 
worthy invented the sector in 1606 ; and in 1623, about the time of 
the great Puritan exodus to North America, he brought out his famous 
Rule of Proportion. This was popularly known as Gunter's Proportion, 
or Gunter's Line, and the term soon became a vulgar standard of 
appeal in cases of doubt or dispute. 

Cock-eye, a term of opprobrium often applied to one that squints. 

Cockles, " to rejoice the COCKLES of one's heart," a vulgar phrase 
implying great pleasure. Also, to "warm one's COCKLES," said of any 
hot, weU-spiced drink, taken in cold weather. COCKLES altogether 
seem to be an imaginary portion of great importance in the in- 
ternal economy of the human frame. 

Cockney, a native of London. Originally, a spoilt or effeminate boy, 
derived from COCKERING, or foolishly petting a person, rendering him 
of soft and luxurious manners. Halliwell states, in his admirable essay 
upon the word, that "some writers trace the word with much proba- 
bility to the imaginary land of COCKAYGNE, the lubber land of the 
olden times." Grose gives Minsheu's absurd but comical derivation : 
A citizen of London being in the country, and hearing a horse neigh, 
exclaimed, " Lord ! how that horse laughs !" A bystander informed 
him that the noise was called neighing. The next morning when the 
cock crowed, the citizen, to show that he had not forgotten what was 
told him, cried out, "Do you hear how the COCK NEIGHS?" See 

Cock Of the walk, a master spirit, head of a party. Places where 
poultry are fed are called WALKS, and the barn-door cocks invariably 
fight for the supremacy till one has obtained it. At schools where this 
phrase was originally much used, it has been diminished to " COCK" 

Cock one's toes, to die. Otherwise " turn-up one's toes." 

Cock-robin Shop, a small printing-office, where cheap and nastf 
work is done and low wages are paid. 

Cocks, fictitious narratives, in verse or prose, of murders, fires, anA 
terrible accidents, sold in the streets as true accounts. The man who 
hawks them, a patterer, often changes the scene of the awful event to 
suit the taste of the neighbourhood he is trying to delude. Possibly a 
corruption of cook, a cooked statement, or maybe "the story of a cock 
and a bull" may have had something to do with the term. Improve- 
ments in newspapers, especially in those published in the evening, 
and increased scepticism on the part of the public, have destroyed this 
branch of a once-flourishing business. 


Cockshy, a game at fairs and races, where trinkets are set upon sticks, 
and for one penny three throws at them are accorded, the thrower 
keeping whatever he knocks off. From the ancient game of throwing 
or "shying" at live cocks. Any prominent person abused in the 
newspapers is said to be a common COCKSHY. 

Cocksure, certain. 
Cocky, pert, saucy. 

Cocoa-nut, the head. A pugilistic term. Also, when anything is 
explained to a man for the first time, it is not unusual for him to say, 
" Ah, that accounts for the milk in the cocoa-nut" a remark which 
has its origin in a clever but not very moral story. 

Cocum, shrewdness, ability, luck ; "Jack's got COCUM, he's safe to get 
on, he is," viz., he starts under favourable circumstances ; "to fight 
COCUM" is to be wily and cautious. Allied perhaps to the Scottish KEEK. 
German, GUCKEN, to peep or pry into. 
Cod, to hoax, to take a " rise " out of one. Used as a noun, a fool. 

Coddam, a public-house game, much affected by medical students and 
cabmen, generally three on each side. The game is " simplicity itself," 
but requires a great amount of low cunning and peculiar mental in- 
genuity. It consists in guessing in which of the six hands displayed on 
the table, a small piece of marked money lies hid. If the guesser 
"brings it home," his side takes the "piece," and the centre man 
" works" it. If the guess is wrong, a chalk is taken to the holders, who 
again secrete the coin. Great fun is to be obtained from this game 
when it is properly played. 

Codds, the " poor brethren " of the Charter House. In The Newcomes, 
Thackeray writes, " The Cistercian lads call these old gentlemen CODDS; 
I know not wherefore." A probable abbreviation of CODGER. 

Codger, or COGER, an old man ; " a rum old CODGER," a curious old fel- 
low. CODGER is sometimes used as synonymous with CADGER, and 
then signifies a person who gets his living in a questionable manner. 
" COGERS," the name of a debating society, formerly held in Shoe 
Lane, Fleet Street, and still in existence. The term is probably a 
corruption of COGITATORS. 

Coffee-shop, a watercloset, or house of office. 

Cog, to cheat at dice. Shakspeare. Also, to agree with, as one cog* 
wheel does with another, to crib from another's book, as schoolboys 
often do. This is called "cogging over." 

Cogged, loaded like false dice. Any one who has been hocussed or 
cheated is sometimes said to have been COGGED. 

Coin, "to post the COIN" sometimes "post the coal" a sporting 
phrase meaning to make a deposit of money for a match of any kind. 

Cold blood, a house licensed for the sale of beer " NOT to be drunk on 
the premises." 

Cold coffee, misfortune ; sometimes varied to COI.D GRUEL. An un- 
pleasant return for a proffered kindness is sometimes called coi.p 


Cold coffee, an Oxford synonym for a "sell," which see. 

Cold cook, an undertaker. Cold cook's shop, an undertaker's. 

Cold meat, a corpse. COLD-MEAT BOX, a coffin. 

Cold meat train, the last train at night by which officers can reach 
Aldershot per South Western Railway. So called because by this 
train corpses are often conveyed on account of the Necropolis 
Company to Woking. 

Cold shoulder, " to show or give any one the COLD SHOULDER" is to 
"cut" in a modified form, to assume a distant manner towards any- 
body, to evince a desire to cease acquaintanceship. Sometimes termed 

" COLD SHOULDER of mutton." 

Colfabias, a Latinized Irish phrase signifying the closet of decency, 
applied as a slang term to a place of resort in Trinity College, Dublin. 

Collar, "out of COLLAR," i.f., out of place, no work. Probably a varia- 
tion of the metaphorical expressions, "in, or out of harness," i.e., in 
or out of work the horse being in collar when harnessed for his work. 
COLLAR work is any very hard work, from the expression among drivers. 
Any uphill journey is said to be all "COLLAR work " for the horses. 

Collar, to seize, to lay hold of. Thieves' slang, i.e., to steal. 

Collar and elbow, a term for a peculiar style of wrestling the 
Cornwall and Devon style. 

Collections, the College examinations at the end of each term, when 
undergraduates wear white ties and bands, and are trotted through 
the subjects of the term's lecture. These are the occasions when the 
dons administer reproof or advice on the conduct of each individual 
undergrad. Oxford University. 

Collogue, to conspire, talk mysteriously together in low tones, plot 
mischief. Connected with "colloquy" or "colleague." Maybe mix- 
ture of both. 

Colly-wobbles, the stomach-ache, a person's bowels, supposed by 
many to be the seat of feeling and nutrition. Devonshire. 

Colour, complexion, tint ; " I've not seen the COLOUR of his money," i.e., 
he has never paid me any. In fortune-telling by cards, a diamond 
colour is the fairest ; heart-colour, fair, but not so fair as the last ; club 
colour, rather dark ; spade colour, an extremely swarthy complexion. 

Colour, a handkerchief worn by each of the supporters of a professional 
athlete on the day of a match, so as to distinguish them from the 
partizans of the other side. The professional chooses his colours, and 
his backers, and as many of the general public as can be persuaded to 
do so, take one each to wear on the eventful day, the understanding 
being that the man is to be paid, say, a guinea if he wins, and nothing 
if he loses. Some of these handkerchiefs used to be, in the palmy days 
of pugilism and professional rowing on the Thames, very fine 
specimens of work ; but as their purveyors expected to be paid whether 
they won or lost, and as the price was generally about four times the 
intrinsic value, colours are rather shyly dealt with now. The 
custom is, however, a very ancient one, and such men as Tom 
Sayers, Tom King, Harry Kelley, and Bob Chambers have, even 


in these degenerate days, received very large sums for their winning 

Colt, a murderous weapon, formed by slinging a small shot to the end of a 
rather stiff piece of rope. It is the original of the misnamed "life- 

Colt, a person who sits as juryman for the first time. In Cork an 
operative baker who does not belong to the union. 

Colt, a professional cricketei during his first season. From the best colts 
in the annual match are selected new county players. 

Colt, to fine a new juryman a sum to be spent in drink, by way of " wet* 
ting" his office ; to make a person free of a new place, which is done 
by his standing treat, and submitting to be struck on the sole of the 
foot with a piece of board. 

Colt's tooth, elderly persons of juvenile tastes are said to have a COLT'S 
TOOTH, *'.*., a desire to shed their teeth once more, to see life over 

Comb-CUt, mortified, disgraced, " down on one's luck." See CUT. 

Come, a slang verb used in many phrases ; " Aint he COMING IT?" i.e., is 
he not proceeding at a great rate? "Don't COME TRICKS here," 
" don't COME THE OLD SOLDIER over me," i.e., we are aware of your 
practices, and "twig" your manoeuvre. COMING IT STRONG, exag- 
gerating, going ahead, the opposite of " drawing it mild." COMING IT 
also means informing or disclosing. Also, in pugilistic phraseology, 
to COME IT means to show fear ; and in this respect, as well as in 
that of giving information, the expression "COME IT" is best known to 
the lower and most dangerous classes. 

Come down, to pay down. 

Commemoration, the end of Lent term at Oxford, when honorary 
degrees are conferred and certain prizes given, and when men have 
friends "up." 

Commission, a shirt. Ancient Cant. Italian, CAMICIA. 

" As from our beds, we doe oft cast our eyes, 
Cleane linnen yeelds a shirt before we rise, 
Which is a garment shifting in condition ; 
And in the canting tongue is a COMMISSION. 
In weale or woe, in joy or dangerous drifts, 
A shirt will put a man unto his shifts." 

Taylor's Works, 1630. 

For further particulars, see CAMESA. 

Commister, a chaplain or clergyman. Originally Old Cant. 
Common sewer, a DRAIN, vulgar equivalent for a drink. 
Commons, the allowance of anything sent out of the buttery or 

kitchen. "A COMMONS of bread," or "of cheese," for instance. 

University. SHORT COMMONS (derived from the University slang 

term), a scanty meal, a scarcity. 
Competition wallah, one who entered the Indian Civil Service bv 

passing a competitive examination. Anglo- Indian, 
Compo, a sailor's term for his monthly advance of wages. 


Comprador, a purveyor, an agent. Originally Spanish, now Anglo- 

Concaves and convexes, a pack of cards con- ^^.^./ p~^ ? 
trived for cheating, by cutting all the cards from the i - - L J 
two to the seven concave, and all from the eight to the king convex. 
Then by cutting the pack breadthwise a convex card is cut, and by 
cutting it lengthwise a concave is secured. See LONGS AND SHORTS. 

Conjee, * kind of gruel made of rice. Anglo-Indian. 

Conk, a nose. Possibly from the Latin, CONCHA, a shell. Greek, Koyx*! 
hence anything hollow. Somewhat of a parallel may be found in the 
Latin, TESTA, an earthenware pot, a shell, and in later Latin, a 
skull ; from whence the French TESTE, or TTE, head. CONKY, 
having a projecting or remarkable nose. The first Duke of 
Wellington was frequently termed "Old CONKY" in satirical papers 
and caricatures. 

Connaught Rangers, the Eighty-eighth Regiment of Foot in the 
British Army. 

Conshun's price, fair terms, without extortion. Probably conscience 
price. Anglo-Chinese. 

Constable, " to overrun the CONSTABLE," to exceed one's income, or get 
deep in debt. The origin of this phrase is unknown, but its use is 
very general. 

Constitutional, a walk, or other exercise taken for the benefit of the 

Consumah, a butler. Anglo-Indian. 

Contango, among stockbrokers and jobbers, is a certain sum paid for 
accommodating a buyer or seller, by carrying the engagement to pay 
money or deliver shares over to the next account day. 

Continuations, coverings for the legs, whether trousers or breeches. A 
word belonging to the same squeamish, affected family as unmentionables, 
inexpressibles, &c. 

Convey, to steal ; " CONVEY, the wise it call." 

Conveyancer, a pickpocket. Shakspeare uses the cant expression CON- 
VEYER, a thief. The same term is also French slang. 

Cooey, the Australian bush-call, now not unfrequently heard in the 
streets of London. 

Cook, a term well known in the Bankruptcy Courts, in reference to 
accounts that have been meddled with, or COOKED, by the bankrupt ; 
also to form a balance-sheet from general trade inferences ; stated by a 
correspondent to have been first used in reference to the celebrated 
alteration of the accounts of the Eastern Counties Railway, by George 
Hudson, the Railway King. Any unfair statements of accounts or 
reports are now said to be COOKED. 

Cook, in artistic circles, to dodge up a picture. Artists say that a picture 
will not COOK when it is excellent and unconventional, and beyond 
specious imitation. 
Cook one's goose, to kill or ruin a person. North. 


Cooler, a glass of porter as a wind up, after drinking spirits and water. 
This form of drinking is sometimes called ' ' putting the beggar on the 

Coolie, a soldier, in allusion to the Hindoo COOLIES, or day labourers. 

Coon, abbreviation of racoon. American. A GONE COON ditto t one in 
an awful fix, past praying for. This expression is said to have origi- 
nated in the first American war with a spy, who dressed himself in a 
racoon skin, and ensconced himself in a tree. An English rifleman 
taking him for a veritable coon, levelled his piece at him, upon which 
he exclaimed, " Don't shoot, I'll come down of myself, I know I'm a 
GONE COON." The Yankees say the Britisher was so " flummuxed," that 
he flung down his rifle and " made tracks " for home. The phrase is 
pretty general in England. [There is one difficulty about this story 
How big was the man who dressed himself in a racoon skin ?] 

Cooper, "stout half-and-half," i.e., half stout and half porter. De- 
rived from the coopers at breweries being allowed so much stout and 
so much porter a day, which they take mixed. 

Cooper, to destroy, spoil, settle, or finish. COOPERED, spoilt, "done up," 
synonymous with the Americanism caved in, fallen in, ruined. The 
vagabonds' hieroglyph y , chalked by them on gate posts and houses, 
signifies that the place has been spoilt by too many tramps calling 

Cooper, to forge, or imitate in writing ; " COOPER a monniker," to forge 
a signature. 

Cooter, "a sovereign." See COUTER. Gipsy, CUTA. 

Cop, to seize or lay hold of anything unpleasant ; used in a similar sense 
to catch in the phrase "to COP (or catch) a beating." " To get COPT," 
is to be taken by the police. Probable contraction of Lat. capere. 

Cop, beware, take care. A contraction of COPRADOR. Anglo-Indian. 

Coper, properly HORSE-COUPER, a Scotch horse-dealer, used to denote 

a dishonest one. COPING, like jockeying, is suggestive of all kinds of 


Copper, a policeman, i.e., one who COPS, which jar. 
Copper, a halfpenny. COPPERS, mixed pence. 
Coppernose, a nose which is supposed to show a partiality on its owner's 

part for strong drink. Synonymous with "jolly nose." Grog-blossoms 

are the jewels often set in a jolly nose. 
CopUS, a Cambridge drink, consisting of ale combined with spices, and 

varied by spirits, wines, &c. Corruption of HIPPOCRAS. 

Corduroy roads, an American term for the rough roads made bf 
simply laying logs along a clearing. 

Coiinthianism, a term derived from the classics, much in vogue some 
years ago, implying pugilism, high life, "sprees," roystering, &c. 
Shakspeare, I Hen, IV. ii. 4. The immorality of Corinth was pro- 
verbial in Greece. TLopivQlat faQai, to Corinthianize, indulge in the 


company of courtezans, was a Greek slang expression. Hence the 

Ow iravrdc avtipof tig Kopiv9ov tad' o irXovf : 
and Horace^ Epist. lib. I, xvii. 36 

" Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum," 

in allusion to the spoliation practised by the "hetaerae" on those who 
visited them. Pierce Egan, in his Life in London, is responsible for a 
deal of the modern use of this word ; and after him Bell's Li/e, KA tl:e 
oracle of Corinthian sport, was not idle. 

Cork, a broken man, a bankrupt. Probably intended to refer to L : * 
lightness, as being without "ballast." 

Cork, " to draw a CORK," to give a bloody nose. Pugilistic. 

Corkage, money charged when persons at an hotel provide their own wine 
sixpence being charged for each "cork" drawn. 

Corked, said of wine which tastes of cork, from being badly decanted, or 
which has lost flavour from various other obvious causes. 

Corker, "that's a CORKER," *>., that settles the question, or closes the 

Corks, a butler. Derivation very obvious. 

Corks, money ; "how are you off for CORKS?" a sailors' term of a very 
expressive kind, denoting the means of " keeping afloat." 

Corned, drunk or intoxicated. Possibly from soaking or pickling one- 
self like CORNED beef. 

Corner, "the CORNER," Tattersall's famous horse repository and betting 
rooms, so called from the fact of its situation, which was at Hyde Park 
Corner. Though Tattersall's has been removed some distance, to 
Albert Gate, it is still known to the older habitues of the Subscription 
Room as "the CORNER." 

Cornered, hemmed in a corner, placed in a position from which there 
is no escape. 

Corner-man, the end singer of a corps of Ethiopian or nigger minstrels. 
There are two corner men, one generally plays the bones and the 
other the tambourine. Corner-men are the grotesques of a minstrel 

Corn in Egypt, a popular expression which means a plentiful supply of 
materials for a dinner, &c. , or a good supply of money. Its origin is of 
course Biblical. 

Corporation, the protuberant front of an obese person. Probably from 
the old announcements which used to be made, and are made now in 
some towns where improvements are made by the municipal authori- 
ties, " Widened at the expense of the CORPORATION." 

Corpse, to stick fast in the dialogue ; to confuse, or put out the actors by 
making a mistake. Theatrical. 

Cosh, a neddy, a life-preserver ; any short, loaded bludgeon. 

Cossack, a policeman. 

Costard, the head. A rery old word, generally used in connexion 
with "cracked." 


Coster, the short and slang rendering of " costermonger, " or "costard- 
monger," who was originally an apple-seller. COSTERING, i.e., coster- 
mongering, acting as a costermonger would. 

Costermonger, a street seller of fish, fruit, vegetables, poultry, &c. 
The London costermongers number more than 30,000. They form a 
distinct class, occupying whole neighbourhoods, and were at one time 
cut off from the rest of metropolitan society by their low habits, general 
improvidence, pugnacity, love of gambling, total want of education, 
disregard for lawful marriage ceremonies, and their use of a peculiar 
slang language. They have changed a good deal of this, though, 
now. COSTERMONGER aliter COSTARDMONGER, i.e., an apple-seller. 
In Nares's Glossary (Ed. H. & W.) they are said to have been fre- 
quently Irish. So, Ben Jonson 

" Her father was an Irish COSTAR-MONGER." 

Alchym., lv. I. 

" In England, sir, troth I ever laugh when I think on 't, 
- Why, sir, there all the COSTER-MONGERS are Irish." 

a P. Hen. IV.,O. PL, iii. 375. 

Their noisy manners are alluded to in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scorn- 
ful Lady, iv. I. 

"And then hell rail like a rude COSTER-MONGBR 
That school-boys had couzened of his apples, 
As loud and senseless." 

Cotton, to like, adhere to, or agree with any person ; " to COTTON on to 
a man," to attach yourself to him, or fancy him, literally, to stick 
to him as cotton would. Vide Bartlett, who claims it as an American- 
ism, and Halliwell, who terms it an archaism ; also Bacchus and 
Venus, 1737. 

" Her heart 's as hard as taxes, and as bad ; 
She does not even COTTON to her dad." 

Halliday and Lawrance, Kenihuorth Burlesque. 

Cotton Lord, a Manchester manufacturer. 

Cottonopolis, Manchester. A term much in use among the reporters of 
the sporting press engaged in that locality. 

Council-of-ten, the toes of a man who turns his feet inward. 

Counter, to hit back, to exchange blows. A cross COUNTER is a blow with 
the right hand given in exchange for one with the left, the counterer 
preferring to strike rather than to ' ' stop " the blow. Pugilistic. 

Counter-jumper, a shopman, a draper's assistant 

Country-captain, a spatch-cocked fowl, sprinkled with curry-powder. 
A favourite breakfast dish with the captains of country-ships. Indian. 

Country-ship, a ship belonging to the East Indies, and trading from 
port to port in that country. 

County-crop (i.e., COUNTY-PRISON CROP), haircut close and round, as 
if guided by a basin an indication of having been in prison. Since 
Short hair has become fashionable the expression has fallen somewhat 
into disuse. In the tunes when long hair was worn, a man with his 
hair cut as described was said to have had it done with a knife and 


Couple-beggar, a degraded person, who officiated as a clergyman in 
performing marriages in the Fleet Prison. 

Couter, a sovereign. HALF-A-COUTER, hslf-a-sovere5gn. From the 
Danubian-gipsy word CUTA, a gold coin. 

Oovo, or COVEY, a boy or man of any age or station. A term generally 
preceded by an expressive adjective, thus a "flash COVE," a "mm 
COVE," a "downy COVE," &c. The feminine, COVESS, was once 
popular, but it has fallen into disuse. Originally ancient cant (temp. 
Henry VII.), COKE, or CUFFIN, altered in Decker's time to COVE. See 
Witts' Recreations, 1654 ; "there's a gentry-coVE here," i.e., a gentle- 
man. Probably connected with CUIF, which, in the North of England, 
signifies a lout or awkward fellow. Amongst Negroes, CUFFEE. 

Coventry, "to send a man to COVENTRY," not to speak to or notice 
him. Coventry was one of those towns in which the privilege of 
practising most trades was anciently confined to certain privileged 
persons, as the freemen, &c. Hence a stranger stood little chance of 
custom, or countenance, and " to send a man to COVENTRY " came to 
be equivalent to putting him out of the pale of society. 

Cover-down, a tossing coin with a false cover, enabling either head or 
tail to be shown, according as the cover is left on or taken off. The 
cover is more generally called a CAP. This style of cheating is now 
obsolete. A man who cannot manage to cheat at tossing without 
machinery is a sorry rogue. 

Cowan, a sneak, an inquisitive or prying person. Greek, KIJUV, a dog. 
Term given by Freemasons to all uninitiated persons. Used in 
Anderson's Constitutions, edit. 1769, p. 97. If derived from eiJwv, 
its use was probably suggested by such passages in the N. T. as Matt. 
vii. 6, and Phil. iii. 2. The Moslems apply dog in a similar manner. 
It is probably Oriental. Other authorities say it is from COWAN, or 
KIRWAN, a Scottish word signifying a man who builds rough stone 
walls without mortar a man who, though he builds, is not a practical 

COW-COW, to be rery angry, to scold or reprimand violently. Anglo- 

Cow-hocked, clumsy about the ankles ; with large or awkward feet. 

Cow-lick, the term given to the lock of hair which costermongers and 
tramps usually twist forward from the ear ; a large greasy curl upon 
the cheek, seemingly licked into shape. These locks are also called 
NUMBER SIXES, from their usual shape. The opposite of NEWGATB- 
KNOCKER, which see. 

Cow's grease, butter. 

Coxy-loxy, good-tempered, drunk. Norfolk. 

Crab, a disagreeable old person. Name of a wild and sour fruit. 

Crab, " to catch a CRAB," to fall backwards by missing a stroke in row- 
ing. From the crab-like or sprawling appearance of the man wUen 
in the bottom of the boat. 


Crab, to offend, or insult ; to expose or defeat a robbery, to inform 
against CRAB, in the sense of " to offend," is Old English. 

" If I think one thing and speak another, 
I will both CRAB Christ and our Ladie His mother." 

Packman's Paternoster. 
Crabs, in dicing, a pair of aces. 
Crabshells, or TROTTER-CASES, shoes. See CARTS. 
Crack, the favourite horse in a race. Steeplechase and hunting CRACKS 
have been made the subjects of well-known pictures, and " the gallops 
of the CRACKS " is a prominent line in the sporting papers. 
Crack, first-rate, excellent; " a CRACK HAND," an adept; a "CRACK 
article," a good one. " A CRACK regiment," a fashionable one. 

Crack, dry firewood. Modern Gipsy. 

Crack, " in a CRACK (of the finger and thumb)," in a moment. 
Crack, to break into a house ; " CRACK A CRIB," to commit burglary. 
Crack a bottle, to drink. Shakspeare uses CRUSH in the same slang 


Cracked, up, penniless or ruined. 

Cracking a crust, rubbing along in the world. CRACKING A TIDY 
CRUST, means doing very well. This is a very common expression 
among the lower orders. 

Crackle, or CRACKLING, the scored rind on a roast leg or loin of pork ; 
hence applied to the velvet bars on the gowns of the -students at St. 
John's College, Cambridge, long called "Hogs," and the covered 
bridge which connects one of the courts with the grounds, Isthmus of 
Suez (SUES, Lat. sus, a swine). 

Cracksman, a burglar, i.e., the man who CRACKS. 
Crack up, to boast or praise. Ancient English. 

Cram, to lie or deceive, implying to fill up or CRAM a person with false 
stories ; to impart or acquire learning quickly, to " grind" or prepare 
for an examination. 

Crammer, one skilled in rapidly preparing others for an examination. 

One in the habit of telling lies. 
Crammer, a lie. 
Cranky, foolish, idiotic, rickety, capricious (not confined to persons). 

Ancient cant, CRANKE, simulated sickness. German, KRANK, sickly. 

A CRANK or CRANKY vessel is one which pitches very much. 
Crap, to ease oneself by evacuation. 
Crapping case, or KEN, the water-closet. Generally called CRAPPING- 

Crawler, a mean, contemptible, sycophantic fellow. Also a cab which is 

driven slowly along while its driver looks out for a fare. Crawling is 

by recent statute a punishable offence. 
Crawly mawly, in an ailing, weakly, or sickly state. 
Craw thumper, a Roman Catholic. Compare BRISKET- BEATER. 


Cream of the valley, gin ; as opposed to or distinguished from 
"mountain dew," whisky. 

Crib, house, public or otherwise ; lodgings, apartments ; a situation. 

Very general in the latter sense. 

Crib, to steal or purloin ; to appropriate small things. 
Crib, a literal translation of a classic author. University. 
Crib biter, an inveterate grumbler ; properly said of a horse which has 

this habit, a sign of its bad digestion. 
C&ibbage-faced, marked with the small-pox, full of holes like a crib- 

bage-board. Otherwise crumpet-face. 
Crikey, profane exclamation of astonishment ; "Oh, CRIKEY, you 

don't say so !" corruption of " O Christ 1" Sometimes varied by 

" O crimes !" 

Cripple, a bent sixpence. 

Cripple, an awkward or clumsy person. Also one of dull wits. 
Croak, to die from the gurgling sound a person makes when the breath 

of life is departing. 
Croaker, one who takes a desponding view of everything, a misanthrope ; 

an alarmist. From the croaking of a raven. Ben Jonson. 
Croaker, a beggar. 

Croaker, a dying person beyond hope ; a corpse. The latter b gene- 
rally called a " stiff 'un." 
Croaks, last dying speeches, and murderers' confessions. 

Crocodiles' tears, the tears of a hypocrite. An ancient phrase, 
introduced into this country by Mandeville, or other early English 
traveller, who believed that the crocodile made a weeping noise to 
attract travellers, and then devoured them. See Shakspeare's use of the 
term in Olhdlo. 

Crocus, or CROAKUS, a quack or travelling doctor ; CROCUS-CHOVEY, a 
chemist's shop. 

Crone, a termagant or malicious old woman. CRONY, an intimate friend. 

Crooked, a term used among dog-stealers and the "fancy" generally, 
to denote anything stolen. "Got on the CROOK" is exchangeable 
with "Got on the cross," CROOK and cross generally being 

Crooky, to hang on to, to lead, to walk arm-in-arm ; to court or pay 
addresses to a girl. 

Cropped, hanged. Sometimes topped. " May I be topped. " 

Cropper, a heavy fall, a decided failure. Term originally used in the 
hunting-field, but now general, and not at all confined to physical 

Cropper, " to go a CROPPER," or " to come a CROPPER," i.e., to fail badly. 

Croppie, a person who has had his hair cut, or CROPPED, in prison. 
Formerly those who had been CROPPED (i.e., had their ears cut off" and 
their noses slit) by the public executioner were called CKOPPiES, then 
the Puritans received the reversion of the title. 


Crop up, to turn up in the course of conversation. " It CROPPED Ul 
while we were speaking." 

Cross, a deception two persons pretending hostility or indifference to 
each other, being all the while in concert for the purpose of deceiving 
a third. In the sporting world a CROSS is an arrangement made be- 
tween two men that one shall win without reference to relative merits. 
This is sometimes done with the backer's consent for the public benefit. 
at other times a backer is himself the sufferer, the men having "put 
some one in to lay," according to instructions. See DOUBLE CROSS. 

I/TOSS, a general term amongst thieves expressive of their plundering pro- 
fession, the opposite of square. " To get anything on the CROSS " is 
to obtain it surreptitiously. " CROSS-FANNING in a crowd," robbing 
persons of their scarf-pins, so called from the peculiar position of the 
arms. This style of thieving is not confined to the conveying of scarf- 
pins. GROSSMAN, a thief, or one who lives by dishonest practices. 

Cross. For not paying his term bills to the bursar (treasurer), or for 
cutting chapels, or lectures, or other offences, the undergrad can be 
"CROSSED "at the buttery, or kitchen, or both, i.e., a CROSS is put 
against his name by the Don, who wishes to see him, or to punish him. 
Of course it is easy to get one's buttery commons out in some one else's 
name, and to order dinner in from the confectioner's. The porter is 
supposed to allow no dinners to be sent in, but, between his winking 
and a little disguise, it is possible. As another instance, a barrel of 
beer will not be admitted ; but if it is in a hamper it will pass ! 
Oxford University. 

CrOSS-buttOck, an unexpected fling down or repulse ; from a peculiar 
throw practised by wrestlers. 

Cross cove and molisher, a man and woman who live by 

Cross-crib, a house frequented by thieves. 

Crossed, prohibited from taking food from the buttery. University. 

Crow, or COCK-CROW, to exult over another's abasement, as a fighting- 
cock does over his vanquished adversary. 

Crow, "a regular CROW," a success, a stroke of luck, equivalent to a 


Crow, one who watches whilst another commits a theft, a confederate in a 

robbery. The CROW looks to see that the way is clear, whilst the 

SNEAK, his partner, commits the depredation. 

, " I have a CROW to pick with you," i.e., an explanation to demand, 

a disagreeable matter to settle. Sometimes the article picked is sup- 

posed- to be a bone. 
Crowsfeet, wrinkles which gather in the corners of the eyes of old at 

dissipated people. 

Crug, food. Christ's Hospital boys apply it only to bread. 
CmmbS, " to pick up one's CRUMBS," to begin to have an appetite after at 

illness ; to improve in health, circumstances, &c., after a loss thereof. 
Irummy, fat, plump. North. In London street slang, lousy. 


Cruminy-dOSS, a lousy or filthy bed. 

Crumpet-face, a face pitted with small-pox marks. 

Crunch, to crush. Perhaps from the sound of teeth grinding against 

each other. 
Crush, to run or decamp rapidly. CRUSH DOWN SIDES, run to a place 

of safety, or the appointed rendezvous. North Country Cant. 
Crusher, a policeman. 
Crushing, excellent, first-rate. 
Crusty, ill-tempered, petulant, morose. Old, said to be a corruption of 

the Anglo-Norman CORUSEUX. 
Cub, a mannerless uncouth lout. See UNLICKED. 
Cubitopplis, an appellation, originally given by Londoners to the 

Warwick and Eccleston Square districts. From the name of the 

Cuo, properly the last word spoken by one actor, it being the CUE for the 

other to reply. Very often an actor knows nothing of a piece beyond 

his own lines and the CUES." 

Cull, a man or boy. Old Cant. RUM CULL, the manager of a theatre. 
Gullet, broken glass. French, CUEILLETTE, a gathering or collection. 
Culling, or CULING, stealing from the carriages at racecourses. 
Cully gorger, a companion, a brother actor. Theatrical. See GORGER. 
Culver-headed, weak and stupid. 
Cummer, a gossip or acquaintance. 
Cumshaw, a present or bribe. Anglo- Chinese. 
Cupboard-headed, an expressive designation of one whose head is 

both wooden and hollow. Norfolk. 
Cupboard-love, affection arising from interested motives. 

" A CUPBOARD LOVE is seldom true ; 
A love sincere is found in few." Poor Robin. 

Cupboard is the fount-spring of the love supposed to exist among 
policemen for the cooks upon their beats. 

Cup-tosser, a person who professes to tell fortunes by examining the 
grounds in tea or coffee cups. A cup or goblet, however, is the c4d 
mystic symbol of a juggler. French, JOUEUR DE GOBELET. 

Cure, an odd person ; a contemptuous term, abridged from CURIOSITY, 
which was formerly the favourite expression. The word cure, ai 
originally applied, was London street slang, and was, as just stated, 
an abbreviation of curiosity, or, more correctly, of curious or queel 
fellow. Of late years it has, however, been used to denote a funny, 
humorous person, who can give and receive chaff. 

Curios, a corruption of "curiosities;" any articles of vertu brought 
from abroad. Used by naval and military travellers and others. 

Currency, persons born in Australia are there termed CURRENCY, while 
natives of England are termed STERLING. The allusi*- is to the 



difference between colonial and imperial moneys, which it may be as 
well to remark have no difference so far as actual value is concerned. 
CUTSe, anything worthless. Corruption of the Old English word KERSE, 
a small sour wild cherry ; French, CERISE ; German, KIRSCH. Vision 
of Piers Ploughman : 

" Wisdom and witt nowe is not worth a KERSE, 
But if it be carded with cootis as clothers 
Kembe their woole." 

The expression "not worth a CURSE," used frequently nowadays, is 
therefore not properly profane, though it is frequently intensified by a 
profane expletive. Home Tooke says from KERSE, or CRESS. The 
expression "not worth a tinker's CURSE," may or may not have arisen 
from misapplication of the word's origin, though as now used it 
certainly means curse in its usual sense. Tinkers do curse, unfortunately, 
and it will take a good deal of school-board work to educate them out 
of it, as well as a fair amount of time. The phrase ' ' not worth a 
tinker's damn," is evidently a variation of this, unless indeed it should 
be spelt "dam, "and used as a reference to the general worthless- 
ness of the wives and mothers of tinkers. This latter is merely offered 
to those who are speculative in such matters, and is not advanced as 
an opinion. 

Curse of Scotland, the Nine of Diamonds. Various hypotheses 
have been set up as to this appellation that it was the card on which 
the " Butcher Duke " wrote a cruel order with respect to the rebels 
after the battle of Culloden;* that the diamonds are the nine lozenges 
in the arms of Dalrymple, Earl of Stair, detested for his share in th< 
Massacre of Glencoe ; that it is a corruption of Cross of Scotland, the 
nine diamonds being arranged somewhat after the fashion of a St 
Andrew's Cross. The first supposition is evidently erroneous, for ii 
Dr. Houston's Memoirs of his own Lifetime, 1747, p. 92, the Jacobit< 
ladies are stated to have nicknamed the Nine of Diamonds " the Justic( 
Clerk," after the rebellion of 1715, in allusion to the Lord Justice 
Clerk Ormistone, who, for his severity in suppressing it, was callec 
the Curse of Scotland. Gules a cross of lozenges were also the armi 
of Colonel Packer, who attended Charles I. on the scaffold, and com 
manded in Scotland afterwards with great severity. See Chatto on thi 
Origin and History of Playing Cards, p. 267. The most probabL 
explanation is, that in the game of Pope Joan the nine of diamond 
is the POPE, of whom the Scotch have an especial horror. 

Curtail, to cut off. Originally a Ouit word vide Hudibras, and Bacchu 
and Venus, 1737. Evidently derive^ from the French court tailler. 

Cushion, to hide or conceal. 

Cushion-smiter, polite rendering of tub-tU'.unper, a clergyman, ; 

Cushmawaunee, never mind. Sailors and soldiers %ho have been L 
India frequently say 


If we cannot get arrack, 
We must drink pawnee." 



Customer, synonymous with CHAP, afellow ; "a mm CUSTOMER," i.e., 
a man likely to turn the tables on any one who attacked him, and 
therefore better be let alone, or very warily proceeded with ; an "odd 
fish," or curious person. Shakspeare. 

Customhouse-Officer, an aperient pill. 

Cut, to run away, move off quickly ; to cease doing anything ; CUT AND 
RUN, to quit work, or occupation, and start off at once Sea phrase, 
"CUT the cable and RUN before the wind ;" to CUT DIDOES, synony- 
mous with to CUT CAPERS ; CUT A DASH, make a show ; CUT A 
CAPER, to dance or show off in a strange manner ; CUT A FIGURE, to 
make either a good or bad appearance; cur IT, desist, be quiet, go 
away, leave what you are doing and run ; CUT IT SHORT, cease being 
prolix, " make short work " of what you have in hand ; CUT OUT, to 
excel, thus in affairs of gallantry one Adonis is said to CUT the other 
out in the affections of the wished-for lady Sea phrase, from CUT- 
TING out a ship from the enemy's port. CUT THAT ! be quiet, or 
stop; CUT OUT OF, done out of; CUT OF ONE'S JIB, the expression 
or cast of his countenance [see JIB] ; TO CUT ONE'S COMB, to take 
down a conceited person, from the practice of cutting the combs cf 
capons [see COMB CUT] ; CUT AND COME AGAIN, plenty, if one cut 
does not suffice, plenty remains to come at again ; CUT UP, to mortify, 
to criticise severely, or expose ; CUT UP SHINES, to play tricks ; CUT 
ONE'S STICK, to be off quickly, i.e., to be in readiness for a journey, 
further elaborated into AMPUTATE YOUR MAHOGANY [see STICK] ; CUT 
IT FAT, to exaggerate or show off in an extensive manner ; to CUT 
UP FAT, or CUT UP WELL, to die, leaving a large property ; CUT 
UNDER, to undersell ; CUT YOUR LUCKY, to run off; CUT ONE'S 
CART, to expose unfair tricks ; CUT AN ACQUAINTANCE, to cease 
friendly intercourse with him; "CUT UP ROUGH," to become obstre- 
perous and dangerous ; to have CUT ONE'S EYE-TEETH," i.e., to be 
wide awake, knowing j to DRAW CUTS, to cast lots with papers of 
unequal lengths. 

Cut, to take cards from a pack, with a view to decide by comparison which 
persons shall be partners, or which players shall deal. Not less than 
four cards must be picked up by the cutter, and the bottom one is the 
CUT. When cutting for a "turn-up," the residuum is called the CUT. 

Cut, in theatrical language, means to strike out portions of a dramatic 
piece, so as to render it shorter for representation. A late treasurer of 
one of the so-called Patent Theatres when asked his opinion of a new 
play, always gave utterance to the brief but safe piece of criticism, 
"Wants cutting." 

Cut, tipsy. Old. 

Cut, to compete in business; "a CUTTING trade," one conducted on 
competitive principles, where the profits are very closely shaved. 

Cut-throat, a butcher, a cattle-slaughterer ; a ruffian. 
Cute, sharp, cunning. Abbreviation of ACUTE. 


Cutter, a ruffian, a cut-purse. Of Robin Hood it was said 

" So being outlaw'd (as 'tis told), 

He with a crew went forth 
Of lusty CUTTERS, bold and strong, 
And robbed in the north." 

CUTTER, a swashbuckler balaffreux taillebras, fendeur de naseaux. 

" He's out of cash, and thou know'st by CUTTER'S LAW, 
We are bound to relieve one another." 

Match at Midn,, O. PI., rii. 553. 

This ancient cant word now survives in the phrase, "to swear like i 

Cutting- shop, a place where cheap rough goods are sold. 
Cutty-pipe, a short clay pipe. Scotch, CUTTY, short. 
Cutty-sark, a short chemise. Scotch. A scantily-draped lady is so 
called by Burns. 

" ' Wee! done, CUTTY-SARK ! ' 
And in an instant all was dark." 

Dal), or DABSTER, an expert person. Most probably derived from the 
Latin adeptus. 

Dab, street term for small flat fish of any kind. Old. 

Dacha-saltee, tenpence. Probably from the Lingua Franca. Modern 
Greek, SfKa ; Italian, DIECI SOLDI, tenpence ; Gipsy, DIK, ten. So also 
DACHA-ONE (oney), i.e., dieciuno, elevenpence. See SALTEE. 

JDaddle, the hand ; "tip us your DADDLE," i.e., shake hands. 

Daddy, a stage manager. Theatrical. Also the person who gives away 

the bride at a wedding. 
Daddy ; at mock raffles, lotteries, &c. , the DADDY is an accomplice, most 

commonly the getter-up of the swindle, and in all cases the person 

that has been previously selected to win the prize. 

Daddy, the old man in charge generally an aged pauper at casual 
wards. Most people will remember "kind old DADDY." 

Daffy, gin. A term with monthly nurses, who are always extolling the 
virtues of Daffy's Elixir, and who occasionally comfort themselves 
with a stronger medicine under Daffy's name. Of late years the term 
has been altered to " soothing syrup." 

Dags, feat or performance ; " I'll do your DAGS," i.e., I will do some- 
thing that you cannot do. Corruption of DARINGS. 

Dairies, a woman's breasts, which are also called CHARLIES. 

Daisy-CUtter, a horse that trots or gallops without lifting its feet much 
from the ground. 

Daisy -kicker, the name ostlers at large inns used to give each other, 
now nearly obsolete. DAISY-KICKER, or GROGHAM, was likewise the 
cant term for a horse. The DAISY-KICKERS were sad rogues in the old 
posting days ; frequently the landlords rented the stable* to them, 
as the only plan to make them return a profit 


Damage, in the sense of recompense ; " what's the DAMAGE ?" i.e., what 
is to pay? or actually, what is the DAMAGE to my pocket? 

Damper, a shop till ; to DRAW A DAMPER, i.e., rob a till. A till is 
more modernly called a "lob, "and stealing from tills is known as 

Dancer, or dancing-master, a thief who prowls about the roofs of 
houses, and effects an entrance by attic windows, &c. Called also a 

Dance upon nothing, to be hanged. 

Dander, passion or temper; "to get one's DANDER up," to rouse his 
passion. Old, but now much used in America. 

Dando, a great eater, who cheats at hotels, eating shops, oyster-cellars, 
&c., from a person of that name who lived many years ago, and who was 
an enormous oyster-eater. According to the stories related of him, 
Dando would visit an oyster-room, devour an almost fabulous quantity 
of bivalves, with porter and bread and butter to match, and then 
calmly state that he had no money. 

Dandy, a fop, or fashionable nondescript. This word, in the sense of a 
fop, is of modern origin. Egan says it was first used in 1820, and Bee 
in 1816. Johnson does not mention it, although it is to be found in 
all late dictionaries. DANDIES wore stays, studied a feminine style, 
and tried to undo their manhood by all manner of affectations which 
were not actually immoral. Lord Petersham headed them. At the 
present day dandies of this stamp have almost envrely disappeared, but 
the new school of muscular Christians is not altogether faultless. The 
feminine of DANDY was DANDIZETTE, but the term only lived for a 
short season. 

Dandy, a small glass of whisky. Irish. " Dimidium cyathi vero apud 
Metropolitanos Hibernicos dicitur DANDY." Father Tom and the Pope, 
in Black-food's Magazine for May 1838. 

Dandy, a boatman. Anglo-Indian. 

Dandypratt, a funny little fellow, a mannikin ; originally a half-farthing 
of the time of Henry VII. 

Danna, human ordure ; DANNA DRAG, a nightman's or dustman's cart ; 
hence DUNNA-KEN, which see. 

Darbies, handcuffs. Old Cant. Set JOHNNY DARBIES. Sir Walter Scott 
mentions these, in the sense of fetters, hi his Peverilofthe Peak 

" ' Hark ye ! Jem Clink will fetch you the DARBIES.' ' Derby !' interrupted Julian 
' has the Earl or Countess ' " 

Had Sir Walter known of any connexion between them and this family 
he would undoubtedly have mentioned it. The mistake of Julian 
is corrected in the next paragraph. It is said that handcuffs were, when 
used to keep two prisoners together, called DARBIES and JOANS a term 
which would soon be shortened as a natural consequence. 

Darble, the devil. French, DIABLE. 

Dark, "keep it DARK," i.e., secret. A DARK horse is, in racing phraseology, 
a horse of whom nothing positive is known, but who is generally 


supposed to have claims to the consideration of all interested, whether 
bookmakers or backers. 

Parky, twilight ; also a negro. DARKMANS, the night 
Darn, vulgar corruption of DAMN. American. 

Dash, to jot down suddenly. " Things I have DASHED off at a moment's 

Dash, fire, vigour, manliness. Literary and artistic work is often said to 
be full of DASH. 

Dash, an ejaculation, as "DASH my wig !" " DASH my buttons !" A relic 
of the attempts made, when cursing was fashionable, to be in the mode 
without using " bad words." 
Dashing, showy, fast. 

Daub, in low language, an artist. Also a badly painted picture. 
David's SOW, " as drunk as DAVID'S sow," i.e., beastly drunk. See 

origin of the phrase in Grose's Dictionary. 

Davy, "on my DAVY," on my affidavit, of which it is a vulgar corruption, 
Latterly DAVY has become synonymous in street language with the 
name of the Deity ; "so help me DAVY," generally rendered, "swelp 
my DAVY." Slang version of the conclusion of the oath usually 
exacted of witnesses. 

Davy's locker, or DAVY JONES'S LOCKER, the sea, the common recep- 
tacle for all things thrown overboard ; a nautical phrase for death, is 
" gone to DAVY JONES'S LOCKER," which there means the other world. 

Dawdle, to loiter, or fritter away time. 
Dawk, the post. Anglo-Indian. 

Daylights, eyes; "to darken his DAYLIGHTS," to give a person black 
eyes. Also the spaces left in glasses between the liquor and the brim, 
not allowed when bumpers are drunk. The toast-master in such 
cases cries "no DAYLIGHTS or heeltaps !" 

Daze, to confound or bewilder ; an ancient form of dazzle used by Spenser, 
Drayton, &c. This is more obsolete English than slang, though its 
use nowadays might fairly bring it within the latter category. 
Dead-against, decidedly opposed to. 
Dead-alive, stupid, dull. 
Dead-amiss, said of a horse that from illness is utterly unable to nui for 

a prize. 

Dead-beat, utterly exhausted, utterly "done up." 
Dead-heat, when two houses run home so exactly equal that the judge 
cannot place one before the other ; consequently, a DEAD-HEAT is a 
heat which counts for nothing, so far as the even runners are concerned, 
as it has to be run over again. When a race between dead-heaters 
has been unusually severe, or when the stake is sufficiently good to bear 
division, it is usual to let one of the animals walk over the course so as 
to make a deciding heat, and to divide the money. In such case 
all bets are divided. Sometimes, however, when no arrangement 


can be made, an owner will withdraw his horse, in which case the 
animal that walks over wins the whole of the stake, and his backers 
the whole of their money. Where the course is short and the money 
of small amount, the DEAD-HEAT is run off, the second essay being 
called the decider, though on certain occasions even the decider has 
resulted in a DEAD-HEAT. See NECK AND NECK. 

Dead-horse, "to draw the DEAD-HORSE;" DEAD-HORSE work 
working for wages already paid; also any thankless or unassisted 

Dead-letter, an action of no value or weight ; an article, owing to 
some mistake in its production, rendered utterly valueless, often ap- 
plied to any instrument in writing, which by some apparently trivial 
omission, becomes useless. At the general and large district post- 
offices, there is a department for letters which have been erroneously 
addressed, or for which, from many and various causes, there are no 
receivers. These are called DEAD- LETTERS, and the office in connexion 
with them is known as the DEAD-LETTER office. 

Dead-lock, a permanent standstill, an inextricable entanglement. 
Dead-lurk, entering a dwelling-house during divine service. 

Dead-man, a baker. Properly speaking, it is an extra loaf smuggled 
into the basket by the man who carries it out, to the loss of the master. 
Sometimes the DEAD-MAN is charged to a customer, though never de- 
livered. Among London thieves and low people generally a ' ' dead'un" 
is a half-quartern loaf. 

Dead-men, the term for wine bottles after they are emptied of their 
contents. Old. See MARINES. 

Dead-men's shoes, property which cannot be claimed until after 
decease of present holder. "To wait for a pair of DEAD-MEN'S 
SHOES," is considered a wearisome affair. It is used by Fletcher : 

" And 'tis a general shrift, that most men use, 
But yet 'tis tedious waiting DEAD HEN'S SHOES." 

Fletcher's Poem*, p. *$6. 

Dead-set, a pointed and persistent attack on a person. 

Dead'un, a horse which will not run or will not try in a race, and against 
which money may be betted with safety. See SAFE UN. 

Deaner, a shilling. From DENIER. 

Death, "to dress to DEATH," .#., to the very extreme of fashion, 
perhaps so as to be killing. 

Death-hunter, a running patterer, who vends last dying speeches and 
confessions. More modernly the term is supposed to mean an under- 
taker, or any one engaged in or concerned with burials. 

Deck, a pack of cards. Used by Shakspeare, 3 K. Hen. VI., v. I. 
Probably because of DECKING or arranging the table for a game 
at cards. General in the United States. 

Dee. a pocket-book; term used by tramps. Gipsy. DEE (properly D), a 
detective policeman. " The DEES are about, so look out 


Delicate, a false subscription-book carried by a LURKER. 

Demirep (or DEMIRIP), a courtezan. Contraction of DEMI-REPUTA- 
TION, which is, in turn, a contraction for demi-monde reputation. 

Derby-dog, a masterless animal, who is sure to appear as soon as the 
Epsom course is cleared for the great race of the season. No year passes 
without a dog running between the two dense lines of spectators and 
searching in vain for an outlet, and he is almost as eagerly looked for 
as are the " preliminary canters." It is said that when no DERBY-DOG 
appears on the course between Tattenham Corner and the judge's box, 
just before the start, a dead-heat will take place between all the placed 

Derrick, an apparatus for raising sunken ships, &c. The term is curi- 
ously derived from a hangman of that name frequently mentioned in 
Old Plays, as in the 2fe///a of London, 1616. 

" He rides circuit with the devil, and DERRICK must be his host, and Tybome th 
inn at which he will light." 

The term is now almost general for all cranes used in loading ships, or 
doing similar work of a heavy nature. 

Despatchers, false dice with two sets of numbers, and, of course, 
no low pips. So called because they bring the matter to a speedy issue. 
Great skill in palming is necessary for their successful use. 

Deuce, the devil. Old. Stated by Junius and others to be from DEUS 
or ZEUS. 

Deuce, twopence ; DEUCE at cards or dice, one with two pips or spots. 

Devil, among barristers, to get up the facts of a case for a leader ; to 
arrange everything in the most comprehensive form, so that the Q. C. or 
Serjeant can absorb the question without much trouble. DEVILLING 
is juniors' work, but much depends on it, and on the ability with which 
it is done. 

Devil, a printer's youngest apprentice, an errand-boy in a printing- 

Devil dodger, a clergyman ; also a person who goes sometimes to 
church and sometimes to meeting. 

Devil-may-care, reckless, rash. 

Devil's bed-posts, the four of clubs. Otherwise Old Gentleman's 


Devil's books, a pack of playing-cards; a phrase of Presbyterian 
origin. See FOUR KINGS. 

Devil's delight, a noise or row of any description. Generally used 
thus : " They kicked up the DEVIL'S DELIGHT." 

Devil's dung, the fetid drug assafcetida. 

Devil's dust, a term used in the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire 
to denote shreds of old cloth torn up to re-manufacture ; also called 
SHODDY. Mr. Ferrand, in his speech in the House, March 4, 1842, 
produced a piece cf cloth made chiefly from DEVIL'S DUST, and tore 
it into shreds to prove its worthlessness. See Hansard's Parliamentary 
Debates, third series, vol. Ixi. p. 140. 


Devil-SCOlder, a clergyman. 

Devil's livery, black and yellow. From the mourning and quaran- 
tine uses of the colours. 

Devil's teeth, or DEVIL'S BONES, dice. 

Devotional habits, horses weak in the knees, and apt to stumble and 
fall, are said to have these. Stable. 

Dew-beaters, feet ; " hold out your DEW-BEATERS till I take off the 
darbies." Pev eril of the Peak. Forby says the word is used in Nor- 
folk for heavy shoes to resist wet. 

DtAV-drink, a morning draught, such as is served out to labourers in 
harvest time before commencing work. 

Dewskitch, a good thrashing, perhaps from catching one's due. 

Dibbs, money ; so called from the huckle bones of sheep, which have 
been used from the earliest times for gambling purposes when money 
was not obtainable in one particular game being thrown up five at a 
time and caught on the back of the hand like halfpence. 

Dick, a riding whip ; gold-headed DICK, one so ornamented. 

Dick, abbreviation of " Dictionary," but often euphemistically rendered 
" Richard," fine language, long words. A man who uses fine words 
without much judgment is said to have " swallowed the DICK." 

Dickens, synonymous with devil ; "what the DICKENS are you after?" 
what the devil are you doing? Used by Shakspeare in the Merry 
Wives of Windsor. In many old stories his Satanic Majesty is called 
the DICKENS, and by no other name, while in some others the word is 
spelt "diconce." 

Dickey, bad, sorry, or foolish ; food or lodging is pronounced DICKEY 
when of a poor description ; " very DICKEY," very inferior ; " it's all 
DICKEY with him," i.e., all over with him. 

Dickey, formerly the cant for a worn-out shirt, but nowadays used for a 
front or half-shirt. DICKEY was originally "tommy" (from the Greek, 
ro/ti}, a section), a name which was formerly used in Trinity College, 
Dublin. The students are said to have invented the term, and love 
of change and circumlocution soon changed it to DICKEY, in which 
dress it is supposed to have been imported into England. 

Dickey, a donkey. Norfolk. 

Dickey Sam, a native of Liverpool. 

Dicking ; " look ! the bulky is DICKING," *.*., the constable has his eyt 

on you. North Country Cant. 
Diddle, old cant word for geneva, or gin. 
Diddle, to cheat, or defraud. Old. In German, DUDELM is to play on 

the bagpipe ; and the ideas of piping and cheating seem to have been 

much connected. " Do you think I am easier played on than a pipe 7" 

occurs in Hamlet. 

Diddler, or JEREMY DIDDLER, an artful swindler. A diddler is gene- 
rally one who borrows money without any intention of ever repaying 
it ; the sort of man who, having asked for half-a-crown and received 


only a shilling, would consider that eighteenpence was owing to him. 
From Raising the Wind. 

Diddling, cheating or swindling. Borrowing money without any intention 
of repaying it. Edgar Allan Poe wrote a very amusing article once on 
DIDDLING, which he seemed to regard as a rather high art. 

Didoes, pranks or capers ; "to cut up DIDOES," to make pranks. 

Dig, a hard blow. Generally in pugilistic circles applied to a straight 
" left-hander," delivered under the guard on the " mark." 

Diggers, spurs ; also the spades on cards. 

Diggings, lodgings, apartments, residence ; an expression probably im- 
ported from California, or Australia, with reference to the gold 
diggings. It is very common nowadays for a man moving in very 
decent society to call his abode or his office, or any place to which he 
frequently resorts, his " DIGGINGS." 

Dilly, originally a coach, from diligence. Now a night-cart. 

Dilly-dally, to trifle. 

Dimber, neat or pretty. Worcestershire, but old cant. 

Dimber-damber, very pretty ; a clever rogue who excels his fellows ; 
chief of a gang. Old Cant in the latter sense. 

Dimmock, money; "how are you off forDiMMOCK?" diminutive of 
DIME, a small foreign silver coin, in the United States 10 cents. 

Dinarly, money ; " NANTEE DINARLY," I have no money, corrupted 
from the Lingua Franca, " NIENTEDINARO," not a penny. Turkish, 
DINARI ; Spanish, DINERO ; Latin, DENARIUS. 

Dine out, to go without dinner. "I DINED OUT to-day," would 
express the same among the very lower classes that "dining with Duke 
Humphrey" expresses among the middle and upper. 

Ding, to strike ; to throw away, or get rid of anything ; to pass to a con- 
federate by throwing. Old, used in old plays. 

" The butcher's axe (like great Alcides' bat) 

Dings deadly downe ten thousand thousand flat" 

Taylor's Works, 1630. 

Dingy, a small boat. Generally the smallest boat carried by a ship. The 

g in this is pronounced hard. 
Dipped, mortgaged. 
Dirt, TO EAT, an expression derived from the East, nearly the same as 

"to eat humble (Umble) pie," to put up with a mortification or insult. 
Dirty Half-hundred, a nickname given to the 5oth Regiment on 

account of their tattered and soiled appearance during the Peninsular 

War. A term to be proud of, as it implies much work and little 

Disguised, intoxicated. A very old term is that of " DISGUISED in 


'Some say drinking does DISGUISE men." Old Song. 

" The saylers and the shipmen all, 
Through foul excesse of wine, 
Were so DISGUISED that at the sea 
They shew'd themselves like swine." 

Titos. Delonty't Strangt Hisiorut, p. 14, 


Dish, to stop, to do away with, to suppress ; DISHED, done for, floored, 
beaten, or silenced. To "do brown" and to "DISH," both verbs 
with very similar meanings, have an evident connexion so far as origin 
is concerned, and most likely were both first used in the kitchen as 
synonymous with "done for." The late Lord Derby made the 
word "DISH" famous by his latest public act, that of "DISHING the 

Dithers, nervous or cold shivering? , " it gave me the DITHERS." 

Dittoes, A SUIT OF, coat, waistcoat, and trousers of the same material. 
Tailor's term. 

Ditty-bag, the bag or huswife in which sailors keep needles, thread, 
buttons, &c. , for mending their clothes. 

Diver, a pickpocket. Also applied to fingers, no doubt from a similar 
reason. To DIVE is to pick pockets. 

Do, this useful and industrious verb has for many years done service as a 
slang term. To DO a person is to cheat him. Sometimes another 
tense is employed, such as " I DONE him," meaning, I cheated or " paid 
him out;" this is only used in the lowest grades of society. DONE 
BROWN, cheated thoroughly, befooled; DONE OVER, upset, cheated, 
knocked down, ruined. Among thieves DONE OVER means that a 
man's pockets have been all quietly searched ; the term also means 
among low people seduced ; DONE UP, used up, finished, or quieted. 
DONE also means convicted, or sentenced ; so does DONE-FOR. To 
DO a person in pugilism is to beat him. Humphreys, who fought 
Mendoza, a Jew, wrote this laconic note to his supporter "I have 
DONE the Jew, and am in good health. Rich. Humphreys." Tourists 
use the expression, " I have DONE France and Italy," meaning I have 
been through those countries. 

Dobie, an Indian washerman; and though women wash clothes in this 
country, Anglo-Indians speak of a washerwoman as a DOBIE. 

Doctor, to adulterate or drug liquor ; to poison, to hocus ; also to falsify 
accounts. A publican who sells bad liquors is said to keep the DOCTOR 
in his cellars. On board ship the cook is always termed "the 

Doddy, a term applied in Norfolk to any person of low stature. Some- 
times HODMANDOD and " HODDY-DODDY, all head and no body." 
DODMAN in the same dialect denotes a garden snail. 

Dodge, a cunning trick. " DODGE, that homely but expressive phrase." 
Sir Hugh Cairns on the Reform Bill, 2nd March, 1859. Anglo* 
Saxon, DEOGIAN, to colour, to conceal. The TIDY DODGE, as it is 
called by street-folk, consists in dressing up a family clean and tidy, 
and parading in the streets to excite compassion and obtain alms. 

Dodger, a dram. In Kent, a DODGER signifies a nightcap; which name 
is often given to the last dram at night. 

Dodger, a tnoky person, or one who, to use the popular phrase, "knows 
too much." Also one who knows all phases of London life, and 
profits by such knowledge. 


Dogberry, a foolish constable. Shakspeare. 

Dog cheap, or DOG-FOOLISH, very or singularly cheap, or foolish, 
Latham, in his English Language, says : " This has nothing to do 
with dogs. The first syllable is god=good, transposed, and the second, 
the ch p, is chapman, merchant: compare EASTCHEAP." Old term. 

Doggery, nonsense, transparent attempts to cheat. 

Dog gone, a form of mild swearing used by boys. 

Dog in a blanket, a kind of pudding, made of preserved fruit spread 
on thin dough, and then rolled up and boiled. This pudding is also 
called " rolly-polly" and " stocking." 

Dog in the manger, a scurvy, ill-conditioned, selfish fellow. From 
the fable of that title. 

Dog Latin, barbarous Latin, such as was formerly used by lawyers in 

their pleadings. Now applied to medical Latin. 
Dogs, TO GO TO THE, to be commercially or socially ruined Originally 

a stable term applied to old or worthless horses, sold to feed hounds. 

Dog's body, a kind of pease pudding. Sea. 

Dog's ears, the curled corners of the leaves of books, which have been 
carelessly treated. The use of this term is so common that it is hardly 
to be considered slang. 

Dog's nose, gin and beer, so called from the mixture being cold, like a 
dog's nose. 

Dog stealer, a DOG DEALER. There is sometimes less difference between 
the two trades than between "d" and "st." 

Doing time, working out a sentence in prison. " He's done time," is 
a slang phrase used in reference to a man who is known to have been 
in gaol. 

Doldrums, difficulties, low spirits, dumps. Sea. 

Dollop, a lump or portion. Norfolk. Anglo-Saxon, DALE, dole. 

Dollop, to dole up, to give up a share. Ibid. 

Dolly, a very mild gambling contrivance, generally used in sweetmeat 
and other child's-ware shops, until stopped by the authorities a few 
years back, and consisting of a round board and the figure of an oW 
man or " DOLLY," down which was a spiral hole. A marble droppe< 
"down the DOLLY," would stop in one of the small holes or pits 
(numbered) on the board. The bet was decided according as the 
marble stopped on a high or low figure. See DOLLY-SHOP. 

Dollymop, a tawdrily-dressed maid-servant, a semi-professional street- 

Dolly shop, an illegal pawnshop, where goods, or stolen property, not 
good enough for the pawnbroker, are received, and charged at so much 
per day. If not redeemed the third day the goods are forfeited. 
Originally these shops were rag shops as well, and were represented 
by the black doll, the usual sign of a rag shop. Twenty years ago, a 
DOLLY SHOP was, among boys, a small sweetstuff and fruit shop where 
a hollow wooden figure, of the kind described above, was kept. A 


wager was made, and the customer got double quantity for his money, 
or nothing. A paternal legislature, and a police system worthy of the 
task, have long since wiped this blot from a nation's face. The 
amount at stake was generally a halfpenny, sometimes less. 

Dominie, a parson, or master at a grammar school. 

Domino, a common ejaculation of soldiers and sailors when they receive 
the last lash of a flogging. The allusion may be understood from the 
game of dominoes. A DOMINO means either a blow, or the last of a 
series of things, whether pleasant or otherwise, so the ejaculation 
savours somewhat of wit 

Dominoes, the teeth. 

Don, a clever fellow, the opposite of a muff ; a person of distinction ir 
his line or walk. At the English Universities, the Masters and Fellows 
are the DONS. DON is also used as an adjective, "a DON hand at a 
knife and fork," i.e., a first-rate feeder at a dinner-table. 

Dona and feeles, a woman and children. Italian or Lingua Franca, 
DONNE E FIGLIE. The word DONA is usually pronounced DONER. 

Done ! the expression used when a bet is accepted. To be DONE, is to be 
considerably worsted. See also DO. 

Done up, an equivalent expression to "dead beat." 

Donkey, "tuppence more and up goes the DONKEY," a vulgar street 
phrase for extracting as much money as possible before performing any 
task. The phrase had its origin with a travelling showman, the finale 
of whose performance was the hoisting of a DONKEY on a pole or 
ladder ; but this consummation was never arrived at unless the required 
amount was first paid up, and "tuppence more" was generally the 
sum demanded. 

Donkey, in printers' slang, means a compositor. In the days before 
steam machinery was invented, the men who worked at press the press- 
men were so dirty and drunken a body that they earned the name of 
pigs. In revenge, and for no reason that can be discovered, they 
christened the compositors DONKEYS. 

Don Pedro, a game at cards. It is a compound of All Fours, and the 
Irish game variously termed All Fives, Five and Ten, Fifteen, Forty- 
five, &c. It was probably invented by the mixed English and Irish 
rabble who fought in Portugal in 1832-3. 

Dookin, fortune-telling. Gipsy, DUKKERIN. 

Dose, three months' imprisonment with hard labour. 

DOSS, a bed. Probably from DOZE, though quite as likely from DORSE, the 
back. Least likely of all, as any one who knows aught about the sur- 
rounding circumstances of those who use the term will admit, is it from 
the Norman, DOSSEL, a hanging or bed canopy, from which some have 
professed to derive it. 

DOSS, to sleep, formerly spelt DORSE. Gael., DOSAL, slumber. In the 
old pugilistic days a man knocked down, or out oi time, was said to be 
"sent to DORSE," but whether because he was senseless, or because he 
lay on his back, is not known, though most likely the latter. 


Dossing -ken, a lodging-house. 

Dot and go One, a lame or limping man. 

Do the high, to walk up and down High Street on Sunday evenings, 
especially just after Church. Oxford University, 

Double, "to tip (or give) the DOUBLE," to run away from any person ; 
to double back, turn short round upon one's pursuers, and so escape, 
as a hare does. Sporting. 

Double cross, a CROSS in which a man who has engaged to lose breaks 
his engagement, and "goes straight" at the last moment. This pro- 
ceeding is called "doubling" or " putting the double on," and is often 
productive of much excitement in athletic circles. See CROSS. 

Double lines, ship casualties. So called at Lloyd's from the manner of 
entering in books kept for the purpose. 

Double-Shuffle, a low, shuffling, noisy dance, common amongst cos- 
termongers. Sometimes called "cellar flap," from its being danced 
by the impecunious on the cellar-flaps of public-houses, outside which 
they must perforce remain. 

Doublet, a spurious diamond, made up of two smaller stones for pawning 
or duffing purposes. These articles are cleverly manufactured and 
excellently set, and a practised eye can alone detect the imposition. 

Double up, to pair off, or " chum " with another man ; to beat severely, 
so as to leave the sufferer " all of a heap." 

Doughy, a sufficiently obvious nickname for a baker. 

Douse, to put out ; " DOUSE that glim," put out that candle. In Norfolk 
this expression is DOUT, which is clearly for DO OUT. Sometimes 
DOUSE means to rinse ; and sometimes to throw water, clean or dirty, 
over any one, is to "DOUSE it." 

Dovercourt, a noisy assemblage; "all talkers and no hearers, like 
DOVERCOURT." At Dovercourt, in Essex, a court is annually held ; 
and as the members principally consist of rude fishermen, the irregu- 
larity noticed in the proverbial saying frequently prevails. Bramston 
in hi Art of Politics says : 

" Those who would captivate the well-bred throng, 
Should not too often speak, nor speak too long ; 
Church, nor church matters, ever turn to sport, 
Nor make St. Stephen's Chapel DOVER COURT." 

This would seem to be more properly applied to a Court of Dover 

Dove-tart, a pigeon pie. A snake tart is an eel pie. 

Dowd, a woman's nightcap. Devonshire : also an American term ; pos- 
sibly from DOWDY, a slatternly woman. 

Dowlas, a linendraper. DOWLAS is a sort of towelling. 

Down, to be aware of, or awake to, any move in this meaning, ex- 
changeable with UP ; " DOWN upon one's luck, " unfortunate ; " DOWN 
in the mouth," disconsolate ; "to be DOWN on one," to treat him 
harshly or suspiciously, to pounce upon him, or detect his tricks. 


Downer, a sixpence ; apparently the Gipsy word, TAWNO, "little one," 
in course of metamorphosis into the more usual " tanner." 

Downs, Tothill Fields' Prison. 

Down the road, stylish, showy, after the fashion. 

Down to the ground, an American rendering of the word entirely; 
as, " that suits me DOWN TO THE GROUND." 

Downy, knowing or cunning ; " a DOWNY COVE," a knowing or experi- 
enced sharper. Literally, a DOWNY person is one who is "DOWN to 
every move on the board." In Norfolk, however, it means low- 
spirited, i.e., DOWN in the mouth. 

Dowry, a lot, a great deal ; " DOWRY of parny," lot of rain or water. 
See PARNY. Probably from the Gipsy. 

Dowsers, men who profess to tell fortunes, and who, by the use of the 
divining rod, pretend to be able to discover treasure-trove. Cornish. 

Doxy, the female companion of a tramp or beggar. In the West of Eng- 
land, the women frequently call their little girls DOXIES, in a familiar 
or endearing sense. Orthodoxy has been described as being a man's 
own DOXY, and heterodoxy another man's DOXY. Ancient Cant, 

Drab, a vulgar or low woman. Shakspeare. 

Drab, poison. Romany. 

Draft on Aldgate Pump, an old mercantile phrase for a fictitious 
banknote or fraudulent bill. 

Drag, a cart of any kind, term generally used to denote any particularly 
well-appointed turnout, drawn by a pair or four horses, especially at 
race meetings. 

Drag, feminine attire worn by men. A recent notorious impersonation 
case led to the publication of the word in that sense. 

Drag, a street, or road ; BACK-DRAG, back street. 

Drag, or THREE MOON, three months in prison. 

Drag, THE, a favourite pursuit with fast-hunting sets j as, THE DRAG can 
be trailed over very stiff country. 

Dragging, robbing carts, &c., by means of a light trap which follows 
behind laden vehicles. Cabs are sometimes eased of trunks in this 
way, though it is hard to say whether with or without the complicity 
of the cabmen. 

Dragging time, the evening of a country fair day, when the young 
fellows begin pulling the wenches about. 

Draggletail, a dirty, dissipated woman ; a prostitute of the lowest class. 

Drain, a drink ; " to do a DRAIN," to take a friendly drink " do a wet ;" 
sometimes called a "common sewer." 

Draw, used in several senses : I, of a theatre, new piece or exhibition, 
when it attracts the public and succeeds ; 2, to induce as, " DRAW him 
on ;" 3, of pocket-picking as, " DRAW his wipe," " DRAW his ticker." 
In sporting parlance it is used with an ellipsis of "trigger," " I DREW 
on it as it rose." In America to "DRAW on a man is to produce 
knife or oistol, and to use it as well. Where lethal weapons are 


used in the States, no man raises his weapon till he means to use it, 
and a celebrated American writer has recently given a dissertation on 
the relative advantages of cocking and firing a pistol by an almost 
simultaneous action as it is raised, and of cocking as the instrument is 
raised, and of then dropping the muzzle slightly as the trigger is pulled. 
The former way is more speedy, the latter more effective. "Come, 
DRAW it mild !" i.e., don't exaggerate ; opposite of " come it strong," 
from the phraseology of the bar (of a "public"), where customers 
desire the beer to be " drawn mild." 

Draw-boy, a cunning device used by puffing tradesmen. A really good 
article is advertised or ticketed and exposed for sale in the shop win- 
dow at a very low price, with a view of drawing in customers to pur- 
chase other and inferior articles at high prices. These gentry have 
fortunately found to their cost, on one or two occasions, by means of 
magisterial decisions, that DRAW- BOYS have drawn for their owners 
something other than profit. 

Drawers, formerly the ancient cant name toi very long stockings. 

Drawing teeth, wrenching off knockers. --Medical Student slang. 

Drawlatch, a loiterer. 

Draw off, to throw back the body to give impetus to a blow ; " he 
DREW OFF, and delivered on the left drum." -Pugilistic. A sailor would 
say, " he hauled off and slipped in." 

Draw the long bow, to tell extravagant stories, to exaggerate over- 
much ; same as " throw the hatchet." From the extremely wonder- 
ful stories which used to be told of the Norman archers, and more 
subsequently of Indians' skill with the tomahawk. 

Dress a hat, TO, to rob in a manner very difficult of detection. The 
business is managed by two or more servants or shopmen of different em- 
ployers, exchanging their master's goods ; as, for instance, a shoemaker's 
shopman receives shirts or other articles from a hosier's, in return for a 
pair of boots. Another very ingenious method may be witnessed about 
eleven o'clock in the forenoon in any of the suburban districts of 
London. A butcher's boy, with a bit of steak filched from his master's 
shop, or from a customer, falls in with a neighbouring baker's man, 
who has a loaf obtained in a sim'Jar manner. Their mutual friend, 
the potboy, in full expectation o'/ their visit, has the tap-room fire 
bright and clear, and not only croks the steak, but again, by means of 
collusion, this time with the barman or barmaid, " stands a shant 
of gatter " as his share. Sc a capital luncheon is improvised for 
the three, without the necessity of paying for it ; and this practical 
communistic operation is stylf.d DRESSING A HAT. Most likely from 
the fact that a hat receives tt e attention of three or four people before 
it is properly fit for wear. 

Dripping, a cook. 

Drive, a term used by tradesmen in speaking of business ; " he's DRIVING 
a roaring trade," i.e , a very good one ; hence, to succeed in a bargain, 
" I DROVE a good bargain," i.e., got the best end of it. To "LET 
DRIVE at one," to strike out. A man snoring hard is said to be 
" DRIVING his pigs to market." 


Drive at, to aim at; "what is he DRIVING AT?" "what does he 
intend to imply ?" a phrase often used when a circuitous line of argu- 
ment is adopted by a barrister, or a strange set of questions asked, the 
purport of which is not very evident. 

Driz, lace. In a low lodging-house this singular autograph inscription 
appeared over the mantelpiece. "Scotch Mary, with DRIZ [lace], 
bound to Dover and back, please God." It is a common thing for igno- 
rant or superstitious people to make some mark or sign before going on 
a journey, and then to wonder whether it will be there when they return. 
Driz-fencer, a person who sells lace. 

Drop, "to DROP an acquaintance," to relinquish a connexion, is very 
polite slang. DROPPING is distinguished from cutting by being done 
gradually and almost imperceptibly, whereas cutting has outward and 
visible signs which may be unpleasantly resented. To " DROP money " 
at any form of speculation or gambling, is to lose it. 
Drop, to quit, go off, or turn aside ; "DROP the main Toby," go off the 

main road. 

Drop, "to DROP a man," to knock him down ; "to DROP into a person," 
to give him a thrashing. See SLIP and WALK. " To DROP on a man," 
to accuse or rebuke him suddenly. 

Drop it, synonymous with "cut it" or "cheese it." Probably from 

the signal given in the good old hanging days by the culprit, who 

used generally to drop a handkerchief when he was ready for the cart 

to be moved from under him. 

Drum, a house, a lodging, a street ; HAZARD-DRUM, a gambling-house ; 

FLASH-DRUM, a house of ill-fame. 

Drum, the ear. Pugilistic. An example of slang synecdoche. 
Drum, as applied to the road, is doubtless from the Wallachian gipsy 

word " DRUMRI," derived from the Greek, $p6p.o. 
Drum, old slang for a ball or rout ; afterwards called a hop. 
Drummer, a robber who first makes his victims insensible by drugs or 

violence, and then plunders them. 
Drumsticks, legs ; DRUMSTICK CASES, trousers. The leg of a fowl is 

generally called a DRUMSTICK. 
Dryasdust, an antiquary. From Scott. 

Dry lodging, sleeping and sitting accommodation only, without board. 
This is lodging-house keepers' slang, and is generally used in reference 
to rooms let to lodgers who take their meals at their clubs, or in the City, 
according to their social positions. 

Dry nurse, when an inferior officer on board ship carries on the duty, 
on account of the captain's ignorance of seamanship, the junior officer 
is said to DRY-NURSE his captain. Majors and adjutants in the army 
also not unfrequently DRY-NURSE the colonels of their regiments in a 
similar manner. The sergeant who coaches very young officers, is 
called a " wet nurse." The abolition of purchase has, however, 
considerably modified all this. 

D.T., a popular abbreviation of delirium tremens ; sometimes written and 
pronounced del. trem. D.T. also often represents the Daily Telegraph 



Dub, to pay or give ; " DUB UP," pay up. 

Dubash, a general agent. Anglo-Indian. 

Dubber, the mouth or tongue ; " mum your DUBBER," hold your tongue. 

Dubsman, or SCREW, a turnkey. Old Cant. 

Ducats, money. Theatrical Slang. 

Duck, a bundle of bits of the "stickings" of beef sold for food to the 
London poor. Sse FAGGOT. 

Ducket, a ticket of any kind. Generally applied to pawnbroker's dupli- 
cates and raffle cards. Probably from DOCKET. 

Ducks, trousers. Sea term. The expression most in use on land is 
" white DUCKS," i.e., white pantaloons or trousers. 

Ducks and Drakes, " to make DUCKS AND DRAKES of one's money," 
to throw it away childishly derived from children "shying" flat 
stones on the surface of a pool, which they call DUCKS AND DRAKES, 
according to the number of skips they make. 

Dudder, or DUDSMAN, a person who formerly travelled the country as a 
pedlar, selling gown-pieces, silk waistcoats, &c., to countrymen. In 
selling a waistcoat-piece, which cost him perhaps five shillings, 
for thirty shillings or two pounds, he would show great fear of the 
revenue officer, and beg the purchasing clodhopper to kneel down in 
a puddle of water, crook his arm, and swear that it might never become 
straight if he told an exciseman, or even his own wife. The term 
and practice are nearly obsolete. In Liverpool, however, and at the 
East-end of London, men dressed up as sailors, with pretended silk 
handkerchiefs and cigars "only just smuggled from the Indies," are 
still to be plentifully found. 

Dudeen, or DUDHEEN, a short tobacco-pipe. Common term in Ireland 
and the Irish quarters of London. 

Duds, clothes, or personal property. Gaelic, DUD ; Ancient Cant ; also 

Duff, to cheat, to sell spurious goods, often under pretence of their being 
stolen or smuggled. 

Duff, pudding ; vulgar pronunciation of dough. Sea. 

Duffer, a hawker of ' ' Brummagem" or sham jewellery, or of shams of any 
kind, a fool, a worthless person. DUFFER was formerly synonymous 
with DUDDER, and was a general term given to pedlars. It is men- 
tioned in the Frauds of London (1760) as a word in frequent use in the 
last century to express cheats of all kinds. 

Duffer, anything of no merit. A term applied by artists to a picture 
below mediocity, and by dealers in jewellery to any spurious article. 
It is now general in its application to a worthless fellow. 

Duffing, false, counterfeit, worthless. 

Duffy a term for a ghost or spirit among the West Indian negroes. In 
all probability the DAVY JONES of sailors, and a contraction thereof 

Duke, gin, a term amongst livery servants. 

Duke Humphrey. "To dine with DUKK HUMPHRBT* k a 


euphuism for dining not at all. Many reasons have been given for the 
saying, and the one most worthy of credence is this : Some visitors 
were inspecting the abbey where the remains of Humphrey Duke of 
Gloucester lie, and one of them was unfortunately shut in, and remained 
there solus while his companions were feasting at a neighbouring 
hostelry. He was afterwards said to have dined with DUKE HUM 
PHREY, and the saying eventually passed into a proverb. 

Dukes, or DOCKS, the hands, originally modification of the rhyming 
slang, "Duke of Yorks," forks = fingers, hands a long way rou n d, 
but quite true. The word is in very common use among low folk. 
1 ' Put up your BOOKS " is a kind invitation to fight. 

Dukey, or DOOKEY, a penny gaff, which see. 

Dumbfound, to perplex, to beat soundly till not able to speak. Ori- 
ginally a cant word. Johnson cites the Spectator for the earliest use. 


Dummacker, a knowing or acute person. 

Dummies, empty bottles, and drawers in an apothecary's shop, labelled 
so as to give the idea of an extensive stock Chandlers' shop keepers 
and small general dealers use dummies largely, half-tubs of butter, 
bladders of lard, hams, cheeses, &c., being specially manufactured for 
them. Dummies in libraries generally take the form of " Hume and 
Smollett's History of England" and other works not likely to tempt 
the general reader. 

Dummy, a deaf-and-dumb person ; a clumsy, awkward fellow ; any one 
unusually thick-witted. 

Dummy, in three-handed whist the person who holds two hands plays 

Dummy, a pocket-book. In this word the derivation is obvious, being 
connected with DUMB, i.e., that which makes no sound. As a thieves 
term for a pocket-book, it is peculiarly applicable, for the contents of 
pocket-books, bank-notes and papers, make no noise, while the money 
in a purse may betray its presence by chinking. 

Dump fencer, a man who sells buttons. 

Dumpish, sullen or gloomy. 

Dumpy, short and stout. 

Dun, to solicit payment. Old Cant, from the French DONNEZ, give ; or 
from JOE DIN, or DUN, a famous bailiff; or simply a corruption of DIN, 
from the Anglo-Saxon DUNAN, to clamour. 

Dunderhead, a blockhead. 

Dundreary, an empty swell. 

Dung, an operative who works for an employer who does not give full oi 
" society" wages. 

Dungaree, low, common, coarse, vulgar. Anglo-Indian. DUNGAREB 
is the name of a disreputable suburb of Bombay, and also of a coarse 
blue doth worn by sailors. 

41 As smart a young fellow as ever you'd see, 
In jacket and trousers of blue DUNGAREB." 

M a 


Dunkhorned, sneaking, shabby. DUNKHORN in Norfolk is the short, 
blunt horn of a beast, and the adjective is applied to a cuckold who 
has not spirit to resist his disgrace. 

Dunnage, baggage, clothes. Also, a sea term for wood or loose faggota 
laid at the bottom of ships, upon which is placed the cargo. 

Dunnyken, originally DANNAKEN, a watercloset. From DANNA and 
KEN, which see. 

Durrynacking, offering lace or any other article as an introduction to 
fortune-telling ; generally practised by women. 

Dust, money ; " down with the DUST," put down the money. Ancient. 
Dean Swift once took for his text, "He who giveth to the poor 
lendeth to the Lord." His sermon was short. "Now, my brethren," 
said he, ' ' if you are satisfied with the security, down with the 

Dust, a disturbance, or noise, "to raise a DUST," to make a row. 

Dust, to beat ; "DUST one's jacket," i.e., give him abeating. 

Dust-hole, Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge. Univ. Slang. 

Dust-hole, the Queen's Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, was so called 
until comparatively recently, when it was entirely renovated and re- 
named, and now, as the Prince of Wales's, it is one of the most 
fortunate and fashionable theatres in London. 

DustOOlie, commission, douceur, bribe. Anglo-Indian. 

Dusty, a phrase used in answering a question where one expects appro- 
bation. " What do you think of this ?" " Well, it's not so DUSTY," 
i.e., not so bad ; sometimes varied to " none so DUSTY." 

Dutch, or DOUBLE DUTCH, gibberish, or any foreign tongue. "To talk 
DOUBLE DUTCH backwards on a Sunday" is a humorous locution for 
extraordinary linguistic facility. 

Dutch auction, a method of selling goods, adopted by " CHEAP 
JOHNS," to evade the penalties for selling without a licence. The 
article is offered all round at a high price, which is then dropped until 
it is taken. DUTCH AUCTIONS need not be illegitimate transactions, 
and their economy (as likewise that of puffing) will be found minutely 
explained in Sugden(LordSt. Leonards) "On Vendors and Purchasers. ' 

Dutch concert, where each performer plays a different tune. Some- 
times called a DUTCH MEDLEY when vocal efforts only are used. 

Dutch consolation, " thank God it is no worse." " It might have 
been worse," said a man whom the devil was carrying to hell. 
"How?" asked a neighbour. "Well, he's carrying me he might 
have made me carry him." 

Dutch courage, false courage, generally excited by drink pot- 

Dutch feast, where the host gets drunk before his guest. 

Dutch uncle, a personage often introduced in conversation, but 
exceedingly difficult to describe ; " I'll talk to him like a DUTCH 
UNCLE !" conveys the notion of anything but a desirable relation. 


Earl of Cork, the ace of diamonds. Hibernicism. 

'"What do you mean by the Earl of Cork?' asked Mr. Squander. 'The ace of 
diamonds, your honour. It's the worst ace, and the poorest card in the 
pack, and is called the EARL OF CORK, because he's the poorest nobleman in 
Ireland.' " Carlttott's Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry. 

Early, " to get up EARLY," to prepare for a difficult task. "You'll 
have to get up very EARLY in the morning to beat that." Early 
rising and ability seem also closely connected by certain modifications 
of this expression. Possibly the belief is that a man who rises early 
for early rising's sake deserves to be clever. Perhaps the greatest 
enjoyment a day labourer whose work commences at six in the winter 
mornings, and who may have to rise at half-past four and trudge off 
can have, is a "quiet snooze" after the usual time of rising. The 
early rising in " the steel " is the chief terror of that institution in the 
minds of habitual criminals. 

Earwig, a clergyman, also one who prompts another maliciously and 

Earwigging, a private conversation ; a rebuke in private ; an attempt 
to defame another unfairly, and without chance of appeal ; a WIGGING 
is more public. 

Ease, to rob ; "EASING a bloke," robbing a man. 

Eat his head off. A horse who is kept idle in the stable is said 
to EAT His HEAD OFF. Of late the phrase has been applied to servants 
who have little to do but constantly "dip their noses in the manger." 

Eavesdropper, a listener. The name is derived from the punishment 
which, according to Oliver, was directed in the Lectures, at the 
revival of Masonry in 1717, to be inflicted on a detected Cowan [g. v.], 
and which was 

"To be placed under the eaves of the house in rainy weather, till the water runs in 
at his shoulders and out at his heels." Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry. 

Efter, a thief who frequents theatres. 

Egg, or EGG ON, to excite, stimulate, or provoke one person to quarrel 
with another, &c. From the Anglo-Saxon eggian ; or possibly a 
corruption of EDGE, or EDGE ON, or even from agere, to drive. Ancient. 

Egg-flip, or EGG-HOT, a drink made after the manner of purl and bishop, 
with beer, eggs, and spirits made hot and sweetened. 

Elbow, "to shake one's ELBOW," to play with dice; "to crook one's 
ELBOW," to drink. 

Elbow grease, labour, or industry. Anything that is rusty, or in 
household work dirty or dingy, is said to require ELBOW GREASE. 

Elegant extracts, a Cambridge University title for those students 
who having failed only slightly in some one subject, and being 
"plucked " accordingly, were allowed their degrees. This applied to 
the " Poll >; list, as the " Gulf" did to the " Honours." 

Elephant, "to have seen the ELEPHANT," to be "/ to the latest 
move," or "down to the last new trick;" to be knowing, and not 
" green," &c. Possibly a metaphor taken from the travelling menage- 
ries, where the ELEPHANT is the finale of the exhibition. Originally aa 


Americanism. Bartlett gives conflicting examples. General now, 
however. A modification of this is " having seen the king." When & 
man becomes aware that he has been cheated or imposed on, and does 
not mean to stand it any longer, he is said to have seen the king, i.e., 
to have seen his adversary's best card, and to be prepared for it. 

Elevated, intoxicated. ELEVATION is the name of a drug-mixture 
much used in the fen-counties for keeping up the spirits and preventing 
ague. It consists mainly of opium. 

Enemy, time, a clock, the ruthless enemy and tell-tale of idleness iad of 
mankind generally ; " what says the ENEMY ?" i.e., how goes the time ? 

Essex lion, a calf. A calf is probably the only lively animal to be seen 
in a journey through Essex. 

Essex stile, a ditch. A jocular allusion to the peculiarities of the 
"low county." 

Evaporate, to go, or run away. 

Everlasting Shoes, the feet. The barefooted children about the 
Seven Dials, and other low quarters of London, are said to wear 
EVERLASTING SHOES and stockings. Another expression in connexion 
with this want is, " the shoes and stockings their mothers gave them." 

Everlasting Staircase, the treadmill. Sometimes, bat very rarely 
now called "Colonel Chesterton's EVERLASTING STAIRCASE," from 
the gallant inventor or improver. Also known as "the STEPPER." 

Exasperate, to over-aspirate the letter H, or to aspirate it whenever it 
commences a word, as is commonly done by under-educated people 
who wish to show off their breeding. EXASPERATION does not refer 
to an omission of the aspirate. 

Exes, expenses. "Just enough to clear our exes." 

Extensive, frequently applied in a slang sense to a person's appearance 
or talk; " rather EXTENSIVE that !" intimating that the person alluded 
to is showing off, or " cutting it fat." 

Extracted, placed on the list of " ELEGANT EXTRACTS." Camb. Univ. 

Eye teeth, supposed evidences of sharpness. A man is said to have, or 
have not, cut his EYE TEETH, according to possession or want of 

Eye water, gin. Term principally used by printers. 

Face, credit at a public-house, impudence, confidence, brass ; thus a 
BRAZEN-FACE. " To run one's FACE," is to obtain credit in a bounce- 
able manner. " He's got some FACE," i.e., he has got lots of 

Face entry, the entree to a theatre. From the FACE being known, 
as distinguished from free-list entry. 

Facer, a blow on the face. In Ireland, a dram. 

Facer, a tumbler of whisky-punch. Possibly from the suffusion of blood 

to the face caused by it. 
Fad, a hobby, a favourite pursuit 


FadgO, a farthing. 
Fadge, a flat loaf. North. 

Fadge, to suit or fit ; "it wont FADGE," it will not do. Used by Shak- 

speare, but now heard only in the streets. 
Fadger, a glazier's frame. Otherwise called a "frail," perhaps in 

reference to the fragile nature of its contents. 
Fag, a schoolboy who performs a servant's offices to a superior schoolmate 

From FAG, to become weary or tired out. Low German, FAKK, 

Fag, to beat. 
Faggot, a bundle of bits of the " stickings" (hence probably its name) 

sold for food to the London poor. It is sometimes called a duck. In 

appearance it resembles a Scotch "haggis," without, however, being 

nearly so good as that fragrant article. Probably the FA.G-END of a 

thing, the inferior or remaining part, the refuse. 

Faggot, a term of opprobrium used by low people to children and women; 
"you little FAGGOT, you !" FAGGOT was originally a term of contempt 
for a dry shrivelled old woman, whose bones were like a bundle of 
sticks, only fit to burn. Compare the French expression for a heretic, 
scntir le fagot. 

Faggot briefs, bundles of worthless papers tied up with red tape, 
carried by unemployed barristers in the back rows of the courts to 
simulate briefs. 

Faggot vote, a phrase which belongs to the slang of politics, and which 
was applied to a class of votes, by no means extinct even now, though 
not so common as in the days preceding the first Reform Bill, when 
constituencies were smaller, and individual votes were consequently 
more valuable. FAGGOT VOTES were thus created : A large landowner 
who was blessed with, say, seven sons and seven brothers, and had also 
on his estate fourteen labourers' cottages worth about a shilling a week 
each, would go through the form of sale of one cottage to each son 
and each brother, it being perfectly understood that the title-deeds 
would be returned when the occasion for their use was at an end. And 
thus the squire would command fifteen votes instead of one. In a 
famous election for the West Riding of Yorkshire during the third 
decade of the present century, which cost upwards of half a million 
sterling, and ruined the successful candidate, it was said that six hundred 
FAGGOT VOTES were created by three noble lords. The origin of the 
term has been variously explained. One ingenious writer has suggested 
that as a FAGGOT may be split into a bundle of sticks, so was one 
estate thus split into a bundle of votes. It is, however, more reason- 
able to suppose that it was derived from the old word "FAGGOT," 
which was used to describe a "nominal soldier," one, that is, 
whose name appeared on the muster-roll, and for whom the colonel 
drew pay, but who was never to be found in the ranks. The connexion 
is evident enough. 

Fdke, in the sporting world, means to hocus or poison. Fake is abo 
mixture supposed to be used ior purposes of " making safe." 


Pake, to cheat, or swindle ; to do anything ; to go on, or continue ; to 
make or construct ; to steal or rob, a verb variously used. FAKED, 
done, or done for ; " FAKE away, there's no down ;" go on, there is 
nobody looking. From the Latin FACERE. 

Fakement, a false begging petition, any act of robbery, swindling, or 
deception. FAKEMENT is a word of most general application among 
the lower classes. Any things strange, and most things not strange, are 
called FAKEMENTS, particularly if there is anything peculiar or artistic 
in their production. 

Fakement Charley, the owner's private mark. FAKER, is cue 
who makes or FAKES anything. To " fake a cly," is to pick a 

Fal-lals, trumpery ornaments, gewgaws. Forby suggests as a derivation 
the Latin PHALER^E, horse trappings. 

Fambles, or FAMMS, the hands. Ancient Cant. German, FANGEN. 
Family men, or PEOPLE, thieves, or burglars. 
Fan, a waistcoat. Houndsditch term. 

Fancy, the favourite sports, pets, or pastime of a person, the ton of low 
life. Pugilists are sometimes termed the FANCY. Shakspeare uses 
the word in the sense of a favourite or pet ; and the paramour of a 
prostitute is still called her FANCY MAN. 

Fancy bloak, a fancy or sporting man. 

Fanning, a beating. FANNING is also stealing ; CROSS-FANNING is 
stealing with the arms crossed so as to distract attention, as in stealing 
breast-pins, &c. 

Fanqui, a European, literally foreign devil. Anglo-Chinese. 

Fantail, a dustman's or coalheaver's hat. So called from the shape. 

Farm, to contract, after the manner of those who engage to feed and 
lodge children belonging, to the parish, at so much a head ; a 
fruitful cause of starvation and misery. See Oliver Twist. The 
baby farmings, unconnected with the parishes in which they occurred, 
which ultimately resulted in the trial and execution of Margaret 
Waters, on the nth October, 1870, have caused the word FARM as 
applied to any dealings with children, parish or private, to be one of 
obloquy and reproach. 

Farmer. In Suffolk this term is applied to the eldest son of the occupier 
of the farm. In London it is used derisively of a countryman, and 
denotes a farm-labourer or clodpole. Both senses are different from 
the proper meaning. 

Fast, gay, spreeish, unsteady, thoughtless, an Americanism that has ol 
late ascended from the streets to the drawing-room. The word has 
certainly now a distinct meaning, which it had not thirty years ago. 
QUICK is the synonym for FAST, but a QUICK MAN would not convey 
the meaning of a FAST MAN, a person who, by late hours, gaiety, and 
continual rounds of pleasure, lives too fast, and wears himself out. In 
polite society a FAST young lady is one who affects mannish habits, or 
makes herself conspicuous by some unfeminine accomplishment. 


talks slang, drives about in London, smokes cigarettes, is knowing in 
dogs, horses, &c. An amusing anecdote is told of a fast young lady, 
the daughter of a right reverend prelate, who was an adept in horse- 
flesh. Being desirous of ascertaining the opinion of a candidate for 
ordination, who had the look of a bird of the same feather, as to the 
merits of some cattle just brought to her father's palace for her to 
select from, she was assured by him they were utterly unfit for a lady's 
use. With a knowing look at the horses' points, she gave her decision 
in these choice words, " Well, I agree with you ; they are a rum lot, 
as the devil said of the ten commandments." Charles Dickens once 
said that "fast," when applied to a young man, was only another 
word for loose, as he understood the term ; and a fast girl has been 
defined as a woman who has lost her respect for men, and for whom 
men have lost their respect. 

Fast, embarrassed, wanting money, tied up. Sometimes synonymous 
with "hard up." Yorkshire. 

Fast and loose, to play FAST AND LOOSE with a man, is to treat 
him as a fast friend in the days while he is useful, and to cast 
him loose when he is no longer necessary ; also, to equivocate or 
vacillate. In old days it was the name of a vulgar pastime. See 

Fat, a printer's term signifying the void spaces on a page, for which he is 

paid at the same rate as for full or unbroken pages. Occasionally called 

"grease," and applied variously, but always as showing some undue or 

uncommon amount of advantage. 
Fat, rich, abundant, &c. ; "a FAT lot ;" " to cut it FAT," to exaggerate, to 

show off in an extensive or grand manner, to assume undue importance ; 

" cut up FAT," see under CUT. As a theatrical term, a part with plenty 

of FAT in it is one which affords the actor an opportunity of effective 

Father, or FENCE, a buyer of stolen property. 

Favourite, the horse that has the lowest odds laid against it in the 
betting list. When the FAVOURITE wins, the public or backers of 
horses generally are the gainers. When an outsider wins, the ring, 
that is to say, the persons who make a business of laying against the 
chances of horses, are the gainers. 

Fawney, a finger ring. Irish, FAINEE, a ring. 

Fawney bouncing, selling rings for a pretended wager. This 
practice is founded upon the old tale of a gentleman laying a wager 
that if he were to offer " real gold sovereigns " at a penny a-piece at 
the foot of London Bridge, the English public would be too 
incredulous to buy. The story states that the gentleman stationed 
himself with sovereigns on a tea-tray, and sold only two within 
the hour, thus winning the bet. This tale the FAWNEY BOUNCERS 
tell the public, only offering brass, double-gilt rings, instead of 

Fawney rig, the ring-dropping trick. A few years ago this practice was 
very common. A fellow purposely dropped a ring, or a pocket-book 


with some little articles of jewellery, &c., in it, and when he saw any 
person pick it up, ran to claim half. The ring found, the question of 
how the booty was to be divided had then to be decided. The sharper 
says, "If you will give me eight or nine shillings for my share, the 
things are yours." This the "flat" thinks very fair. The ring of 
course is valueless, and the swallower of the bait discovers the trick 
too late. For another way of doing this trick, see RING-DROPPING. 

Feathers, money, wealth ; " in full FEATHER," rich. FEATHERS is also 
a term applied to dress ; " in full FEATHER," means very often in full 
costume. It also means, at times, in high spirits. 

Peed, a meal, generally a dinner. Originally stable slang, now pretty 

Feele, a daughter, or child. Corrupted French. 

Fellow-commoner, uncomplimentary epithet used at Cambridge for 
an empty bottle. 

Felt, a hat. Old term, in use in the sixteenth century. 

Fence, a purchaser or receiver of stolen goods ; also, the shop or ware- 
house of a FENCER. Old Cant. 

Fen-nightingales, toads and frogs, from their continued croaking at 

Feringee, a European that is, a Frank. Anglo-Indian. 

Ferricadouzer, a knock-down blow, a good thrashing. Probably 
derived, through the Lingua Franca, from the Italian, " far' cader' 
douser," to knock down, " Far' cader' morto," is to knock down dead. 

Few, used to signify the reverse, thus : " Don't you call this considerably 
jolly?" "I believe you, my bo-o-oy, A FEW." Sometimes the reply is, 
"just a FEW." Another expression of the same kind is RATHER, 
which see. 

Fib, to beat or strike. Old Cant. 

Fib, to lie, to romance. 

Fibbing, a series of blows delivered quickly, and at a short distance. 

Fiddle, a sharper, "a street mugger." In America, a swindle or an 

Fiddle, "to play second FIDDLE," to act subordinately, or follow the 
lead of another. From the orchestral practice. 

Fiddle-face, a person with a wizened countenance. 

Fiddle-faddle, twaddle, or trifling discourse. Old Cant. 

Fiddler, a sharper, a cheat ; also a careless, negligent, or dilatory person. 
On board some ocean steamers the FIDDLER is the capstan-house, the 
only place on board where passengers are permitted to smoke. The 
term FIDDLER is easily traceable to the fact that, while the seamen are 
working the capstan-bars, a man sometimes plays on the fiddle to cheer 
them at their toil. 

Fiddler, a sixpence. Fiddler's money is small money ; generally from 
the old custom of each couple at a dance paying the fiddler sixpence. 


Fiddler, or FADGE, a farthing. 

Fiddlers' green, the place where sailors expect to go when they 
die. It is a place of fiddling, dancing, rum, and tobacco, and is un- 
doubtedly the " Land of Cocaigne," mentioned in mediaeval manu- 
scripts. A story is told of a drunken sailor who heard a street 
preacher threatening all listeners with eternal damnation, and who 
went up and asked where he (the sailor) was going after death. " To 
hell, of course," replied the preacher. " No, you lubberly son of a 
sea-cook!" shouted the seaman, knocking the itinerant down; "I'm 
going to FIDDLERS' GREEN ; and if you say I'm not, I'll throttle you." 
Under compulsion, the preacher admitted the existence of FIDDLERS' 
GREEN, pro tempore. 

Fiddles, transverse pieces of wood used on shipboard to protect the 
dishes at table during stormy weather. Swing tables obviate the 
use of FIDDLES. 

Fiddle-sticks! an exclamation signifying nonsense. Sometimes 
" Fiddle-de-dee." 

Fiddling, doing any odd jobs in the streets, holding horses, carrying 
parcels, &c., for a living. Among the middle classes, FIDDLING means 
idling away time, or trifling, and amongst sharpers it means gambling. 

Fid-fad, a game similar to chequers, or drafts, played in the West of 

Field, the whole of the runners in a race of any kind. " A FIELD o 
fourteen runners was placed in care of the starter." In betting 
phraseology the FIELD represents the bulk of the horses, as opposed to 
the favourite. " The FIELD for a pony," means that the offerer will 
lay 25/. against the favourite, preferring the chances of a winner 
turning up amongst the others. " Ten to one on the FIELD," means 
that the price named can be obtained about any horse in the race, that 
being the lowest figure or favourite's price. Laying against favourites 
is called FIELDING, and bookmakers are often known as FIELDERS. 

Field, "to look out," at cricket. In the outings of an eleven the 
FIELDERS are those who stand away from the wickets with a view to 
checking the progress of the ball. FIELDING is a great essential to 
cricket, and to be "a good FIELD" is no slight honour. Also to lay 
against favourites in the betting. 

Field-lane duck, a baked sheep's head. Field Lane was a low 
London thoroughfare leading from the foot of Holborn Hill to the 
purlieus of Clerkenwell. It was formerly the market for stolen pocket- 
handkerchiefs. Holborn Viaduct improved all but a small portion of 
Field Lane off the face of the earth. There is but the smallest vestige 
of this famous (or infamous) thoroughfare left. The neighbourhood 
has received an upheaval within the past few years, and from one end 
the pedestrian must descend to the remains of Field Lane by means 
of a flight of steps. 

^ieri-facias. A red-faced man is often jocularly said to have been served 
with a writ of FIERI-FACIAS. 

Fi-fa, a writ of Fieri-Facias. Legal. 


Fi-fl, Thackeray's term for Paul de Kock's novels, and similar modern 

French literature. 

Pig, "in full FIG," i.e., full-dress costume, "extensively got up." Pos- 
sibly an allusion to the dress assumed by our first parents after they 
were naked and not ashamed, or else an abbreviation of figure, in the 
references to plates in books of fashions. 

Pig, ' ' to FIG a horse, " to play improper tricks with one in order to make 
him lively. The FIG is a piece of wet ginger placed under a horse's tail 
for the purpose of making him appear lively, and enhance his price. 

Figaro, a barber ; from Le Nozze di Figaro. 

Pig -leaf, a small apron worn by ladies. 

Figure, " to cut a good or bad FIGURE," to make good or indifferent 
appearance; "what's the FIGURE?" how much is to pay? FIGURE- 
HEAD, a person's face. Sea term. 

Pilch., to steal, or purloin. Originally a cant word, derived from the 
FILCHES, or hooks, thieves used to carry, to hook clothes, or any 
portable articles from open windows. Vide Decker. It was considered 
a cant or gipsy term up to the beginning of the last century. Harman 
has"FYLCHE, to robbe." Probably from "FILICHI," Romany for 
a handkerchief. 

Pile, a deep or artful man, a jocose name for a cunning person. Origi- 
nally a term for a pickpocket, when to FILE was to cheat or rob. 
FILE, an artful man, was used in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries. To deal with an artful man is sometimes said to be like 
biting a FILE. 

Filibuster, an American adventurer, who, if successful, helps to extend 
the bound iries of the United States, becomes a General, and receives 
high honours, but who remains a FILIBUSTER, and is despised as such, 
if he fails. The Texan, Nicaraguan, and kindred expeditions were of 

FUlibrush, to flatter, praise ironically. 

Fimbl6-f amble, a lame, prevaricating excuse. Scandinavian. 

Fin, a hand ; "come, tip us your FIN," viz., let us shake hands. Sea. 

Finder, one who FINDS bacon and meat at the market before they are 
lost, i.e., steals them. 

Pinnuf, a five-pound note. DOUBLE FINNUF, a ten-pound note. > 
German, FUNF, five. 

Fire-eater, a quarrelsome man, a braggadocio or turbulent person who 
is always ready to fight. 

FirkytOOdle, to cuddle or fondle. 

First flight, the first iot to finish in a foot or horse race, in a fox 
hunt, &c. 

Pish, a person ; "a queer FISH," "a loose FISH." Term never used 
except in doubtful cases, as those quoted. 

Fishfag, originally a Billingsgate fishwife ; now any scolding, vixenish, 
foul-mouthed woman. 

Pis ay, doubtful, unsound, rotten; used to denote a suspicion of a " screw 


being loose," or "something rotten in the state of Denmark," in 
referring to any proposed speculation. 

Pit, an Americanism denoting the preterite of the verb to fight. A 
Yankee once came upon the words nihilfa, and he immediately wrote 
off to the editor of the paper to which he subscribed to know " Who 
was Nihil, who he fit, what amount he fit for, and if he won." 

Five fingers, the five of trumps, at the game of Five-cards, or Don. 

Fives, "bunch of FIVES," the fist. 

Fix, a predicament, or dilemma; "an awful FIX," a terrible position; 
"to Fix one's flint for him," i.e., to "settle his hash," to "put a 
spoke in his wheel." 

Fixings, an Americanism, equivalent to our word "trimmings," which 

Fiz, champagne ; any sparkling wine. 

Fizzing, first-rate, very good, excellent; synonymous with "stunning." 

Flabbergast, or FLABBERGHAST, to astonish, or strike with wonder ; 
literally, to strike aghast. Old. 

Flag, a groat, or ^d. Ancient Cant. 

Flag, an apron. People who wear their aprons when not at work, are 
called "flag-flashers." 

Flag of distress, any overt sign of poverty ; the end of a person's 
shirt when it protrudes through his trousers. 

Flam, nonsense, blarney, a lie, humbug. "A regular FLAM," a tale 
devoid of truth. 

Flame, a sweetheart. 

Flannel, or HOT FLANNEL, the old term for gin and beer, drunk hot, 
with nutmeg, sugar, &c. ; a play on the old name " lambswool." Also 
called "flip." There is an anecdote told of Goldsmith helping to drink 
a quart of FLANNEL in a night-house, in company with George Parker, 
Ned Shuter, and a demure, grave-looking gentleman, who continually 
introduced the words "crap, stretch," "scrag," and "swing." Upon 
the Doctor asking who this strange person might be, and being told 
his profession, he rushed from the place in a frenzy, exclaiming, " Good 
God ! and have I been sitting all this while with a hangman I" 

Flap, lead used for the coverings of roofs. 

Flapper, or FLIPPER, the hand. 

Flare up, a jovial social gathering, a "breakdown," a "row." 

Flash, showy, smart, knowing ; a word with various meanings. A person 
is said to be dressed FLASH when his garb is showy, and after a fashion, 
but without taste. A person is said to be FLASH when he apes the 
appearance or manners of his betters, or when he is trying to be 
superior to his friends and relations. FLASH also means "fast," 
roguish, and sometimes infers counterfeit or deceptive and this, 
perhaps, is its general signification. As it is used by those who best 
understand it nowadays, the word means that which is not what it 
appears to be anything spurious, as jewellery and shoddy clothes. 
" FLASH, my young friend, or slang, * others call it, is the classical 


language of the Holy Land ; in other words, St. Giles's Greek." 
Tom and Jerry, by Moncreiff. Vulgar language was first termed 
FLASH in the year 1718, by Hitchin, author of " The Regulator of 
Thieves, &c., with account of flash words." " FLASH" is sometimes 
exchangeable with " fancy." 

" My FLASH man's in quod, 
And I'm the gal that's willui, 
So I'll turn out to-night, 
And earn an honest shillin*. 

* Tooral, looral la, 
What are wealth's possessions? 
Bless the man we love, 
And blow the b - Sessions." Lyra Flagitiosa. 

Flash, it, show it said when any bargain is offered. 

Flash o' lightning, the gold band on an officer's cap. Sea. Also in 
street slang, a glass of gin. 

Plat, a fool, a silly or "soft" person ; the opposite of " sharp." The terms 

appear to be shortenings for " sharp-witted" and "flat-witted." Or, 

maybe, from musical notes. 

Flat-feet, the battalion companies hi the Foot Guards. 
Flats, playing cards; sometimes called "broads." Also the storeys of 

large houses, built on the " independent" principle, each flat having its 

separate and peculiar offices, street-door, &c. 
Flatty, a rustic, or uninitiated person. 
Flatty -ken, a public-house the landlord of which is ignorant of the 

practices of the thieves and tramps who frequent it 
Flay the fox, to vomit. Now replaced by the more popular "shoot 

the cat." 
Flemish account. Old. Still used by sailors for a tangled and un- 

satisfactory account or reckoning. 

Flesh and blood, brandy and port in equal quantities. 
Flesh bag, a shirt. American humourists call a white shirt a " clean 

biled rag." In the mining camps, and rough parts generally, a white 

shirt is called a " biled shirt" to distinguish it from the usual woollen 

garment, which cannot be boiled. 
Flick, or OLD FLICK, a comical old chap or fellow. Term of endear- 

ment among low people. 
Flick, or FLIG, to whip by striking, and drawing the lash back at the 

same time, which causes a stinging blow. A flicking is often adminis- 

tered by schoolboys with a damp towel or pocket-handkerchief. 
Flies, trickery, nonsense. " There are no FLIES about me, sir." Softening 

of lies. 

Flim-flam^ "He story. Beaumont and Fletcher. 
Flimp, to hustle, or rob. 
Flimsy, a bank-note. Bank of Elegance notes are sometimes called toft 

flimsies. In this particular case two good terms make a bad one, as 

both " soft " and "flimsies " used separately refer to good notes. 


Flimsy, the thin prepared copying-paper used by newspaper reporters 
and " penny-a-liners" for making several copies at once, which enables 
them to supply different papers with the same article without loss 
of time. 

Flint, an operative who works for a "society" master, i.e., for full wages. 

Flip, corruption of FILLIP, a light blow. Also a hot drink. See FLANNEL. 

Flip-flap, a peculiar rollicking dance indulged in by costermongers when 
merry or excited better described, perhaps, as the "double-shuffle" 
danced with an air of extreme abandon. Also, a kind of somersault, 
in which the performer throws himself over on his hands and ieet 

Flipper, the hand ; "give us your FLIPPER," give me your hand. Sea. 
Metaphor taken from the flipper or paddle of a turtle. 

Floater, a small suet dumpling put into soup. Wkitechapel. 

Floating academy, the hulks. 

Flog, to whip. Cited both by Grose and the author of Bacchus and Venus 
as a cant word. Many efforts have been made to ascertain the earliest 
use ; Richardson cites Lord Chesterfield. From Flagellum. " Fiawged," 
for whipped, occurs in ' ' The Presbyterian Lash, or NockhofFs Maid 
Whipt, published in 1663. Nockhoff was the anagram for the name 
of the Rev. Zachary Crofton, who had scandalized the town by subject- 
ing his servant-maid to the discipline of the nursery. There is a good 
story on the proper orthography of the convertible term for castigation 
related in a newspaper of 1841. A county magistrate, who had sen- 
tenced a boy to be birched, wrote in his warrant that the boy was to 
be "floged." The scrupulous gaoler hesitated to inflict the punish- 
ment, and sent back the warrant to the justice for amendment, who 
thereupon drew his pen through " floged, ' and ordered the boy to be 

Flogger, a whip. Almost obsolete. FLOGGER is still the term applied to 
a number of strips of cloth attached to a handle, and used in theatrical 
painting rooms to beat off the dust of the charcoal used in sketching a 

Flogster, one addicted to flogging. William IV., who was accused of 
unduly and excessively punishing the sailors whom he commanded 
when in the navy, was nicknamed in the newspapers "Prince William 

Floor, to knock down. Pugilistic. 

Floored, when a picture is hung on the lowest row at the Exhibition of 
the Royal Academy, it is, hi artistic slang, said to be FLOORED, in con- 
tradistinction to "skyed," which see. 
Floorer, a blow sufficiently strong to knock a man down, or bring him to 

the floor. Often used in reference to sudden and unpleasant news. 
Flop, to plump ; "to go FLOP down," to fall suddenly, with vio'ence and 


Flowery, lodging, or house entertainment ; "square the omee for the 
FLOWERY," pay the master lor the lodging. Lingua Franca. 


Flue-faker, a chimney-sweep. 

Fluff it, a term of disapprobation, implying "take it away, I don'i 
want it." 

Fluff, railway ticket clerks' slang for short change given by them. The 
profits thus accruing are called "Surfings," and the practice is known 
as " fluffing." 

Fluke, at billiards, playing for one thing and getting another. Hence, 
generally what one gets accidentally, as an unexpected advantage, 
"more by luck than judgment." 

Flummery, flattery, gammon, gsnteel nonsense. In American ships a 
peculiar kind of light sweet pudding. 

Flummux, to perplex or hinder. 

Flummuxed, done up, sure of a month in quod, or prison. In men- 
dicant freemasonry, the sign chalked by rogues and tramps upon a 
gate-post or house corner, to express to succeeding vagabonds that it is 
unsafe for them to call there, is known as , or FLUMMUXED, which 
signifies that the only thing they would be likely to get upon applying 
for relief would be a "month in quod." See QUOD. 

Flunkey, a footman or other man-servant. 

Flunkeyism, blind worship of rank, birth, or riches, or of all three ; 

Flush, the opposite of "hard up," in possession of money, not poverty- 
stricken . Shakspeare. 

Flush, to whip ; " FLUSHED on the horse," to be privately whipped in 
gaol ; to deluge with water, as in " FLUSHING the sewers ;" to come 
upon suddenly and completely, " I came FLUSH upon him." 

Flush, a term in cribbage, signifying a hand of cards composed entirely 
of one suit. 

Flutter, to try hard in defence or pursuit of an object. "I'll have a 
FLUTTER for it," means I'll have a good try for it. Also to toss for 
anything. Probably from the spinning of the coin. 

Fly, knowing, wide-awake, fully understanding another's meaning. 

Fly, TO BE ON THE, to be out for a day's drink or pleasure. 

Fly, to lift, toss, or raise ; " FLY the mags," i.e., toss up the halfpence ; 
" to FLY a window," i.e., to lift one for the purpose of stealing. 

Fly -boys, men employed to clear the printed copies from the Hoe ma- 
chines, on which daily papers are " worked." So called to distinguish 
them from the "machine boys," a superior grade of labourers who 
" lay on " the sheets. 

Flying mare, a throw in wrestling. 

Flying mess, "to be in FLYING MESS " is a soldier's phrase for being 
hungry and having to mess where he can. 

Flying Stationer, a paper- worker, hawker of penny ballads ; " Printed 
for the Flying Stationers " is the imprimatur on hundreds of penny 
histories and sheet songs of the last and present centuries. 

Flymy, knowing, cunning, roguish. Seven Dials and Low Life. 


Fly the kite, or RAISE THE WIND, to obtain money on bills, whethe 
good or bad, probably in allusion to tossing paper about as children do 

Ply the kite, to evacuate from a window, term used in padding-kens, 
or low lodging-houses. 

Fobbed, old slang for robbed. From FOB, the ancient breeches-pocke. 
for the watch. 

Fogey, or OLD FOGEY, a dullard, an old-fashioned or singular person. 
Grose says it is a nickname for an invalid soldier, from the French 
fougueux, fierce or fiery, but it has lost this signification now. 

Fogger, old word for a huckster. 

Fogger, a farm servant who feeds cattle. Probably a corruption of 


Foggy, tipsy. 

Fogle, a silk handkerchief, not a clout, which is of cotton. It has been 
hinted that this may have come from the German Vogel, a bird, from 
the bird's-eye spots on some handkerchiefs, but a more probable deri- 
vation is the Italian slang (Fourbesqtte), FOGLIA, a pocket, or purse ; 
or from the French Argot, FOUILLE, also a pocket. 

FogUS, tobacco. Ancient Cant. FOGO, old word for stench. 

Follow-me-ladfl, curls hanging over a lady's shoulder. 

Foont, a sovereign, or 2OJ. Probably a corruption of vingt. 

Footing, " to pay FOOTING." See SHOE. 

Forakers, the closet of decency, or house of office. Term used by the 
boys at Winchester School. Very likely from "four acres," the 
original necessary having been in all likelihood a field behind the 

Force the Voucher, a term in use among sporting tricksters, who 
advertise to send certain winners, and on receipt of letters enclose 
vouchers similar to those sent out by respectable commission agents, 
but with double or treble the current odds marked thereon, in refe- 
rence to the horse named. A plausible letter is sent with the voucher, 
and the victim is informed that on account of early investments made 
by the firm, which has of course a high-sounding title, the extra odds 
can be laid by them, and a remittance to the amount named, or 
part of it, is requested. Of course the firm " dries up" when claims 
become '-avy, and, with a new name and new address, appears in the 
next week's advertising columns. FORCING THE VOUCHER was a fine 
game when it was first started, but it was soon overdone, as it required 
no particular ingenuity, and offered special immunities, theft of this 
kind being rather favoured than otherwise by the authorities. Certainly 
the law that punishes honest betting men seems powerless with regard 
to these plunderers, otherwise we should hardly be treated as often as 
we are to the spectacle of one man being fined for honest dealing, while 
another escapes simply because he is not a betting man, but a welcher. 
Fork OUt, to bring out one's money, to pay the bill, to " stand for " or 
treat a friend ; to hand oer what does not belong *o you old cant 



term for picking pockets, and very curious in its origin. In the early 
part of the last century, a little book was published on purloining, and 
of course it had to give the latest modes. FORKING was the newest 
mode, and it consisted in thrusting the fingers stiff and open into the 
pocket, and then quickly closing them and extracting any article thus 

Forks, or GRAPPLING-IRONS, fingers. Costermongers and other clumsy 
feeders have a proverb which seems to justify their taking bones and 
choice morsels in their hands during the progress of a meal. It is, 
" Fingers were the first FORKS ;" sometimes varied to " Fingers were 
made before FORKS." 

Form, condition, training. "In good FORM" " or in bad FORM" refers 
to a man's or horse's state of being in the sporting world. FORM -has 
also had a moral significance of late years, and with the qualifying 
adjectives attached as occasion requires, is extensively used in general 
conversation. As, " It was bad FORM of Brown to do that." "That 
article was bad FORM." In the latter cases the word ' ' in" rarely appears. 

Forty foot, a derisive appellation for a very short person. 

Forty guts, vulgar term for a fat man. 

Forty -twa, the common place of retirement on a well-known French 
plan at Edinburgh, so called from its accommodating that number of 
persons at once. 

Forty winks, a short sleep or nap. 
FOU, rather more than slightly intoxicated. Scotch. 
" We are na' FOU, we are na' FOU." 

Foul, to jostle or bore unfairly in a race. See BORE. To touch any foreign 
substance during a race particularly a boat-race is to FOUL it. 

Foul, a touch, no matter how slight, of bodies or machinery in a race of 
any kind. FOULS in boat-racing are often inevitable, and are not 
always the result of boring or any other malicious practice. 

Foul riding, riding which after a horse-race is made the subject ot 
complaint, such as refusing to let a competitor pass, boring him against 
the rails, &c. Some jockeys are great adepts at this work, and are 
invaluable to a confederacy as a means, not so much of attaining 
victory themselves, as of preventing its attainment in others. Of course 
unless proof of jostling can be given, or evidence of malicious intent 
shown, jockey ship of this kind is not considered foul riding. 

Four-and-nine, or FOUR-AND-NINEPENNY GOSS, a cheap hat, so called 
from 4-r. <)d. , the price at which a once noted advertising hat-maker 
sold his hats 

" Whene'er to slumber you incline, 
Take a short nap at 4 and 9." 

Four-eyes, a man or woman who habitually wears spectacles. 

Four kings, HISTORY OF THE, an old name for a pack of playing 

cards. See Sir Thomas Urquhart's Translation of Rabelais. In Argot, 



Fourth, or FOURTH COURT, the court appropriated to the waterclosets 
at Cambridge ; from its really being No. 4 at Trinity College. A man 
leaving his room to go to the FOURTH COURT, writes on his door, in 
algebraic notation, GONE 4 , which expresses the Cambridge slang 
phrase, " gone to the FOURTH." 

Fourth estate, the complete body of journalists of all descriptions. 
This term is much in use among " liners." 

Fox, to cheat or rob. Eton College. In London to watch closely and 

Foxed, a term used by print and book collectors to denote the brown 

spotted appearance produced by damp on paper. 
Foxing, when one actor criticises another's performance. Theatrical. 

Also in street slang FOXING means watching slyly. 
Fox's sleep, or FOXING, a purposely assumed indifference to what is 

going on. A fox, as well as a waacel, is said to sleep with one eye 


Foxy, rank, tainted, from the odour of the animal. Lincolnshire. 
Foxy, said also of a red-haired person. 
Frapping, a beating. French, FRAPPER. 
Free-and-easy, a club held at a low public-house, the members of 

which meet in the tap-room or parlour for the purpose of drinking, 

smoking, and hearing each other sing. These gatherings are generally 

called harmonic meetings by the landlord, but FREE-AND-EASY best 

indicates the character of the proceedings. 
Free fight, a fight conducted on the Irishman's principle " Sure, 

wherever you see a head, hit it." The term is, however, American, 

so the practice may be considered fairly general. 

Freeman's quay, " drinking at FREEMAN'S QUAY," i.e., at another's 
cost. This quay was formerly a celebrated wharf near London Bridge, 
and the saying arose from the beer which was given gratis to porters 
and carmen who went there on business. 

French cream, brandy. 

French gout, a certain disease, which is also known as "ladies' fever." 

French leave, TO TAKE, to leave or depart slyly, without saying any- 
thing; or obtaining permission. 

Fresh, said of a person slightly intoxicated. 

Freshman, a University man during his first year. The official appel- 
lation for the students until they have passed the Previous or First 
Cambridge Examination, otherwise called the Smalls or Little Go, is 
Junior Sophs or Sophisters. After this they are Senior Sophs until 
their last term, when they are Questionists, or preparing " ad rcspon- 
dtndum qiuestwni." At Oxford the title FRESHMAN lasts for the first 

Friday-face, a gloomy-looking man. Most likely from FRIDAY being 
a day of meagre fare among Catholics and High Church Protestants. 

Frisk, to search ; FRISKED, searched by a constable or other officer. 

N 2 


Frisk a Cly, to empty a pocket. 

Prog, a policeman. Because, by a popular delusion, he is supposed to 
pounce suddenly on delinquents. 

Frog's march, the manner in which four or more policemen carry a 
drunken or turbulent man to the station-house. The victim is held face 
downwards, one constable being at each shoulder, while the others hold 
on above the knees. Often there is another active and intelligent 
officer who beats time to the march on the recalcitrant hero's pos- 

Frontispiece, the face. 

Prow, a girl, or wife. German, FRAU ; Dutch, VROUW. 

Frummagemmed, annihilated, strangled, garrotted, or spoilt. Old 

Frump, a slatternly woman, a gossip. Ancient. In modern slang it is 

the feminine of FOGEY, and means a prim old lady, who is generally 

termed " a regular old FRUMP." 

Frump, to mock or insult. Beaumont and Fletcher. 
F sharps, fleas. Compare B FLATS. 

Fudge, nonsense, stupidity. Todd and Richardson only trace the word 
to Goldsmith. Disraeli, however, gives the origin to a Captain Fudge, 
a great fibber, who told monstrous stories, which made his crew say in 
answer to any improbability, "You FUDGE k !" See Remarks on the 
Navy, 1700. At page 87 of a collection of some papers of William 
Crouch (8 vo, I7 I2 )> the Quaker, we find a mention of this Captain. 
Degory Marshall informed Crouch that 

" In the year 1664 we were sentenced for banishment to Jamaica by Judge* Hyde 
and Twisden, and our number was 55. We were put on board the ship Black 
Eagle; the master's name was FUDGE, by some called LYING FUDGE." 

Some persons believe that the word comes from the Gaelic, FFUG, 

Fuggies, hot rolls. School. 

Full against, opposed to. As, " I'm FULL AGAINST him," I decidedly 
object to, or dislike him, or I am opposed to him. The term ori- 
ginated with the bookmakers ; who, when they have laid all their 
money against a certain horse, put a mark against his name, and reply 
to all inquiries, " FULL AGAINST him." This grew to " FULL AGAINST 
his winning," and was thus taken, when shortened, to express feeling 
the reverse of friendly. 

Fullams, false dice, which always turn up high. Shakspeare. 

Full blast, a term evidently borrowed from the technology of the 
engine-room, and now frequently used to express the heyday or 
apogee of anything. As, ' ' By the middle of the day matters were in 
FULL BLAST, and proceedings generally were very satisfactory." 

Full feather, good condition, high spirits. Also any one gaily dressed 

is said to be in FULL FEATHER. 
Full fig, full costume, male or female uniform or evening dress. 


Pull of beans, arrogant, purseproud. A person whom sudden pros- 
perity has made offensive and conceited, is said to be too " FULL or 
BEANS." Originally stable slang. 

Fully, "to be FULIIED," to be committed for trial. Term in general 
use among thieves. Possibly from the reports which, in the slang of 
the penny-a-liner, say "the prisoner was FULLY committed for trial. 
The magistrates often say FULLY committed also, whatever that may 

Punk, trepidation, nervousness, cowardice. To FUNK, to be afraid or 

Punk, to smoke out, or terrify. 

Funking the cobbler, a bold schoolboy trick, performed with 
assafoetida and cotton stuffed into a hollow tube or cow's horn. The 
cotton being lighted, the smoke is blown in through the keyhole of a 
door, or the crannies of a cobbler's stall. A funny song, much in 
vogue some years back, gave all the agonies of a drunken cobbler, who 
believed the devil had come for him, with all sorts of accessories, till 

" He was told by a shout 
That 'twas only some boys who'd been FUNKING him out" 

Funny, a rowing boat with both ends pointed and out of the water. 

Funny-bone, the extremity of the elbow or rather, the muscle which 
passes round it between the two bones, a blow on which causes pain- 
ful tingling in the fingers. Facetiously derived, from its being the 
extremity of the hnmerus (humorous). 

Fye-buck, a sixpence. Nearly obsolete. 

Grab, GABBER or GABBLE, talk ; "gift of the GAB," loquacity, or natural 
talent for speech-making. Anglo-Norman ; GAB is also found in the 
Danish and Old Norse. 

Gaby, a simpleton, a country bumpkin. Probably from gape. 

Gad, a trapesing slatternly woman. Gipsy. Anglo-Saxon, G^DELING. 

Gadding the hoof, going without shoes. GADDING, roaming about, 
although used in an old translation of the Bible, is now only heard 
amongst the lower orders. 

Gaff, a penny play-house, in which talking is not permitted on the stage. 


Gaffer, a master, or employer ; term used by " navvies," and general in 
Lancashire and North of England. Early English for an old man. 

Gaffing, tossing halfpence, or counters. North, -where it means tossing 
up three halfpennies. One man tosses, and another calls. Sometimes 
the coins are tossed from a stick, and the tosscr keeps those which fall 
heads uppermost. 

Gag, a lie ; " a GAG he totf to the beak." Thieves' Cant. 

Gag, language introduced by an actor into his part. In certain pieces 
this is allowed by custom, and these are called GAG-PIECBS. The Critic, 
or a Tragedy Rehearsed, is chief among these. Many actors, how- 


ever, take French leave in this respect with most pieces. Theatrical 

MR. ROBSON AT BELFAST. We (Northern Whig) suspected a little bit of what Is 
professionally termed GAG in Mr. Robson's Daddy Hardacre last night. 
He had occasion to say that one of the characters in the piece "understands 
me well enough," to which he added " I wish some other people did the 
same," with an expressive glance at the pit ; which we interpreted as having 
special reference to those appreciative persons in the audience whom we have 
already mentioned, who think it absolutely needful to roar with laughter at 
every sentence Mr. Robson utters, without the least regard to whether it ba 
humorous or pathetic only because Mr. Robson has fame as a comic actor. 

When another Robson shall arise, no one will object to his GAGGING a 
little. The public could afford that to such a man in these days of 


Gag, to hoax, "take a rise" out of one ; to "cod." 
Gage, a small quantity of anything ; as "a GAGE of tobacco," meaning a 

pipeful ; "a GAGE of gin," a glassful. GAGE was, in the last century, 

a chamber utensil. 
Galeny, old cant term for a fowl of any kind ; now a respectable word 

in the West of England, signifying a Guinea fowl. Vide Grose. Latin, 

Gallanty show, an exhibition in which black figures are shown on a 

white sheet to accompanying dialogue. Generally given at night by 

" Punch and Judy " men. 
Gallimaufry, a kind of stew, made up of scraps of various kinds. Sea 

term, and probably meaning the galley scraps. 
Gallipot, an apothecary. 
Gallivant, to wait upon the ladies. Old. 
Gallows, or CALLUS, very, or exceedingly an unpleasant exclamation ; 

" GALLOWS poor," very poor. Term originally applied to anything 

bad enough to deserve hanging. 
Gallows bird, an incorrigible thief; often applied to denote a ruffian- 

like appearance. 

Gallowses, in the North of England a pair of braces. 
Gaily -yarn, a sailor's term for a hoaxing story. He expresses disbelief 

by saying only " G. Y." 
Galoot. See GEELOOT. 

Galore, abundance. Irish, GO LEOR, in plenty. 
Gamb, a leg. Still used as an heraldic term, as well as by thieves, who 

probably get it from the Lingua Franca. Italian, GAMBA ; French, 

JAMBE, a leg. 
Game, a term variously applied ; "are you GAME?" have you courage 

enough ? " what's your little GAME? " what are you going to do ? " come, 

none of your GAMES," be quiet, don't annoy me ; "on the GAME," out 

thieving. To "play the GAME" is among sporting men to do a thing 

thoroughly and properly. 
Game leg, a lame or wounded leg. 
Gameness, pluck, endurance, courape generally. 


Gammon, deceit, humbug, a false and ridiculous story. Anglo-Saxon, 
GAMEN, game, sport. 

Gammon, to hoax, to deceive merrily, to laugh at a person, to tell an 
untrue but plausible story, to make game of, or, in the provincial dia- 
lect, to make GAME on ; " who's thou makin' thy GAM' on ?" i.e., of 
whom are you making a fool? Yorkshire. 

Gammy, bad, unfavourable, poor tempered. Those householders who 
are known enemies to the street folk and tramps are pronounced by 
them to be GAMMY. GAMMY sometimes means forged, as "GAMMY- 
MONNiKER,"a forged signature; GAMMY STUFF, spurious medicine ; 
GAMMY LOWR, counterfeit coin. Hants, GAMY, dirty. The hierogly- 
phic used by beggars and cadgers to intimate to those of the tribe 
coming after that things are not very favourable is known as D, or 
GAMMY. Gaelic, Welsh, andfrisA, CAM (GAM), crooked. 

Gammy- vial (Ville), a town where the police will not let persons 

Gander Month, the period when the monthly nurse is in the ascen- 
dant, and the husband has to shift for himself. Probably from the open 
choice he has during that period. 

Ganger, the person who superintends the work of a gang, or a number 
of navigators. 

Gape, to stare about in an astonished manner. " GAPING about like a 
country bumpkin." Sometimes pronounced GARP. There is no 
reference in the use of this phrase by Cockneys to GAPE in its correct 

Gape-seed, something to look at, cause for astonishment ; a lazy fellow, 
unmindful of his work, is said to be "looking for GAPE-SEED." 
Rustics are said to find plenty of " GAPE-SEED" in London streets. 

Gar, euphuistic rendering of the title of the Deity; "be GAR, you don't 

say so !" Franco- English. 
Garden, among tradesmen signifies Covent GARDEN Market; among 

theatrical performers, Covent GARDEN Theatre. 

Gardener, an awkward coachman ; an insinuation that he is both coach- 
man and gardener, and understands the latter branch of service better 
than the first ; "get on, GARDENER," is a most insulting expression 
from a cabby to a real coachman. Men who in small families do the 
coach, garden, and general work, are sometimes called " teakettle 
grooms," or " teakettle coachmen." 

Gargle, medical-student slang for drinkables. 

Garnish, the douceur or fee which, before the time of Howard the phi- 
lanthropist, was openly exacted by the keepers of gaols from their unfor- 
tunate prisoners for extra comforts. The practice of GARNISHING 
is by no means so defunct as some folk seem to think, and its influence 
may often be traced by those who wish. 

Garnish, footing money. Yorkshire. 

Garreter f a thief who crawls over the tops of houses, and enters garret* 


windows. Called also a "dancer," or "dancing-master," from the 
light and airy nature of his occupation. 

Garrotte, a system of robbery with violence much practised on dark 
winter nights by ruffians who during summer infest racecourses and 
fairs. Their victims are generally weak men and delicate women. 
From the Spanish GARROTTE, because the practice generally com- 
mences with a throttling attack. Procedure is, however, various, these 
gentleman being possessed of much ingenuity in the way of torture. 
' ' The cat" has within the past year or so done much to modify this 
offensive state of things, but the sympathetic appeals of certain tender- 
hearted M.P.'s and other philanthropists, who are not themselves likely 
to be garrotted, on behalf of the garrotters, will probably before 
long result in a withdrawal of the lex talionis, and a natural resump- 
tion of the garrotte system, with new adornments. 

Garrotting, a mode of cheating practised amongst card-sharpers, by 

concealing certain cards at the back of the neck. 
Gas, to give off superfluous conceit, to bounce or brag; "his game is 

GAS." "To give a person GAS," is to scold him or give him a good 

beating. Synonymous with "to give him Jessie." 
Gassy, or GASEOUS, liable to "flare up" at any offence. 
Gate, THE, Billingsgate. Sometimes Newgate, according to the occupa- 
tion and condition of the speaker. In the same way Paternoster Row 

is by publishers known as " the Row." 
Gate, to order an undergrad not to pass beyond the college GATE. As 

a rule, the GATE begins after hall, but in extreme cases the offender 

is GATED for the whole day. University. 
Gate-race, among pedestrians a mock race, got up not so much for the 

best runner to win, as for the money taken from spectators, at the gate. 

This sort of business is not peculiar to pedestrians ; there are such things 

as gate-money meetings at horse-racing. 
Gatter, beer; " shant of GATTER," a pot of beer. A curious slang 

street melody, known in Seven Dials as Bet the Coaley's Daughter, thus 

mentions the word in a favourite verse : 

" But when I strove my flame to tell, 

Says she, ' Come, stow that patter, 
If you're a cove wot likes a gal, 

Vy don't you stand some GATTER I* 
In course I instantly complied 

Two brimming quarts of porter, 
With sev'ral goes of gin beside, 

Drain'd Bet the Coaley's daughter." 

Gaudy, the annual dinner of the Fellows of a College, in memory of 

founders and benefactors. From GAUDEAMUS. Oxford University. 
Gawfs, cheap red-skinned apples, a favourite fruit with costermongers, 

who rub them well with a piece of cloth, and find ready purchasers. 
Gawky, a lanky, or awkward person ; a fool. Saxon, GEAK ; Scotch, 

Gay, loose, dissipated; "GAY woman, "* a kept mistress or prostitute. 

Many people will remember Leech's celebrated caricature of two 


wretched females on an equally wretched night, and the question asked 
by one woman of the other, " How long have you been GAY f 

Gay tyke boy, a dog-fancier. 

Gee, to agree with, or be congenial to a person. 

Geeloot, or GALOOT, a recruit, or awkward soldier. A clumsy persom, 

also a term of contempt in America. 
Gen, a shilling. See back-slang article. 

Gent, a contraction of " gentleman," in more senses than one. A dressy, 
showy, foppish man, with a little mind, who vulgarizes the prevailing 

Gent, silver. From the French, ARGENT. 

Gentleman Of four OUts ; in Ireland when a vulgar, blustering 
fellow asserts that he is a gentleman, the retort generally is, " Yes, a 
GENTLEMAN OF FOUR OUTS" that is, without wit, without money, 
without credit, and without manners. 

Gentleman of three ins, that is, in debt, in danger, and in 

Geordie, general term in Northumberland and Durham for a pitman, or 
coal-miner. From the Greek, GEORGE meaning one who works the 
earth, originally a cultivator ; the term has been in use more than a 

German Duck, a sheep's-head stewed with onions ; a favourite dish 
among the German sugar-bakers in the East-end of London. 

German Ducks, bugs. Yorkshire. 

Get up, a person's appearance or general arrangements. Probably 
derived from the decorations of a play. 

" There's so much GETTING UP to please the town, 
It takes a precious deal of coming down." 

Planchfs Mr. Biickstonc's Ascent of Parnassus. 

Ghost, "the GHOST doesn't walk," a theatrical term which implies that 
there is no money about, and that there will be no " treasury." 

Gibberish, unmeaning jargon ; the language of the gipsies, synonymous 
with SLANG, another Gipsy word. Somner says, " French, GABBER ; 
Dutch, GABBKREN ; and our own GAB, GABBER ; hence also, I take it, 
our GIBBERISH, a kind of canting language used by a sort of rogues we 
vulgarly call gipsies, a gibble-gabble understood only among them- 
selves. See Introduction. The GIBBERISH of schoolboys is formed 
by placing a consonant between each syllable of a word, and is called 
the GIBBERISH ^of the letter inserted. Thus, if F were the letter, 
it would be termed the F GIBBERISH ; if L, the L GIBBERISH as in 
the sentence, " How do you do ? Howl dol youl dol?" A GIBBERISH 
is sometimes formed by adding vis to each word, in which the previous 
sentence would be " Hourvis dovis youvis dovis ?" These things are 
worthy of schoolboys, as they are in ability far below the rhyming, the 
back, or the centre slang, each of which is constructed by people pos- 
sessing no claim to literary excellence whatever. Schoolboys in France 


form a GIBBERISH, in a somewhat similar manner, by elongating their 
words two syllables, in the first of which an r, in the second a g, predo- 
minates. Thus the words vous foes un fou are spoken, vousdregue 
esdregue undregue foudregue. Fast persons in Paris, of both sexes, 
frequently adopt terminations of this kind, from some popular song, 
ictor, exhibition, or political event. In 1830, the favourite termina 
lion was mar, saying epicemar for epicier, cafemar for cafe. In 1823, 
Ivhen the diorama created a sensation in Paris, the people spoke in 
\arna (on parlait en rama. ) In Balzac's beautiful tale, Le Pcre Goriot, 
/he young painter at the boarding-house dinner-table mystifies the 
landlady by saying, ' ' What a beautiful soupeaurama 1" To which the 
old woman replies, to the great laughter of the company, " I beg your 
pardon, sir, it is une soupe & choux. These adaptations can hardly be 
called slang, or we shall have everybody making a slang of his own, 
and refusing to believe in any one's else a sort of secondhand edition 
of the Tower of Babel. 

Gib-face, a heavy, ugly face ; GIB is properly the lower lip of a horse ; 
"to hang one's GIB," to pout the lower lip, to be angry or sullen. 

Gibus, an opera hat. From the inventor of the crush hat 
Giffle-gaffle, or GIBBLE-GABBLE, nonsense. See CHAFF. Icelandic, GAFLA. 
Gig, a farthing. Formerly GRIG. 
Gig, fun, frolic, a spree. Old French, GIGUE, a jig, a romp. 

" In search of lark, or some delicious GIG, 
The mind delights on, when 'tis in prime twig." 

Randall's Diary, iSxx 

"'No heirs have I,' said mournful Matt; 

But Tom, still fond of GIG, 
Cried out, ' No hairs? don't fret at that, 
When you can buy a wig." " 

Gig lamps, spectacles ; also a person who wears spectacles is often 
called GIG-LAMPS. Connexion obvious. This term has been in use 
probably as long as GIG-LAMPS themselves if GIG-LAMPS were in- 
vented after spectacles. 

Gill, or JILL, a homely woman ; "Jack and GILL," &c. 

Gills, the lower part of the face. Bacon. "To grease one's GILLS,** 
" to have a good feed," or make a hearty meal. A man suffering from 
the effects of a previous night's debauch, is said to " look queer about 
the GILLS." 

Gills, overlarge shirt collars. 

Gilt, money. German, GELD ; Dutch, GELT. 

Gimcrack, a bijou, a slim piece of mechanism. Old slang for "a 
spruce wench." New Bailey. Any things which are gaudy and 
easily breakable, are known now as GIMCRACKS. 

Ginger, a showy, fast horse as if he had been figged with GINGER 
under his tail ; a red-haired man. Term commonly used in deprecia- 
tion of a person's appearance. 

Ginger hackled, having flaxen, light yellow hair. Term originally 


used to describe a certain colour or colours in game-cocks. See 

Gingerly, to do anything with great care. Cotgrave. 
Gingham, an umbrella. Term very common in London. 
Gingumbob, a bauble. 
Gin-spinner, a distiller, or rectifier of gin. 

Give, to strike, to scold ; "I'll GIVE it to you," i.e., I will thrash you. 
To lead to, in the sense of directions. Thus, in one of the Christmas 
numbers of All the Year Round we are told that " a side portal and a 
passage, dark at noon, GAVE upon Paradise Alley." This usage of the 
word, from the French idiomatic use of donner, is becoming by no 
means uncommon. 

Give in, to admit oneself defeated, to " throw up the sponge," or " strike 
one's flag." 

Give it mouth, a rude request to an actor or orator, which means, 
speak up. Low folk can fancy nothing higher in the way of encomium 
on an actor than, " He's the cove to GIVE IT MOUTH rather !" 

Gladstone, cheap claret. GLADSTONE reduced the duty on French wines. 

Glasgow magistrate, a salt herring. When George IV. visited 
Scotland, a wag placed some salt herrings on the iron guard of the 
carriage belonging to a well-known GLASGOW MAGISTRATE, who 
made one of a deputation to receive his Majesty. 

Glaze, glass ; generally applied to windows. To " star the GLAZE" is to 
break a window. 

Glib, a tongue ; " slacken your GLIB," i.e., " loosen your tongue." 

Glim, a light, a lamp ; " dowse the GLIM," put out the candle. Sea and 
Old Cant. GLIMS, spectacles. Gaelic, GLINN, light. German (pro- 
vincial), GLIMM, a spark. 

Glim, lurk, a begging paper, giving a circumstantial account of a dreadful 
fire which never happened. 

Gloak, a man. Term much used in old thieves' cant. 

Glum, sulky, stern; "to look GLUM," to appear annoyed or discon- 

Gltimp, to sulk. 

Glumpish, of a stubborn, sulky temper. 

Go, a GO of gin, a quartern of that liquor. (This word, as applied to a 
measure of liquor, is stated to have arisen from the following circum- 
stance : Two well-known actors once met at the bar of a tavern to 
have a " wet" together. " One more glass and then we'll GO," was re- 
peated so often on either hand, that in the end GO was out of the ques- 
tion with both of them, and so the word passed into a saying. ) Go 
is also synonymous with circumstance or occurrence ; " a rummy GO," 
and * ' a great GO, " signify curious and remarkable occurrences ; "all 
the GO," when anything creates unusual interest, "no GO," no good ; 
" here's a pretty GO ! here's a trouble ; GO, a term in the game of 


cribbage ; " to GO the jump," to enter a house by the window. S 


" Gemmen (says he), you all well know 
The joy there is whene'er we meet ; 
It's what I call the primest GO, 
And rightly named, 'tis 'quite a treat."* 

Jack Randall' l Diary, i8*x 

Go along, a fool, a cully, one of the most contemptuous terms in a 
thieves' vocabulary. 

Gob or GOBBET, a portion. Generally applied to meat by schoolboys 

Gob, the mouth, as in pugilistic slang " a spank on the GOB, drawing the 
gravy." Also mucus, or saliva. Sometimes used for GAB, talk 

" There was a man called Job, 

Dwelt in the land of Uz ; 
He had a good gift of the GOB ; 
The same case happen us." 

ZACH. Bovo. 

Gaelic GAB and GOB, a mouth. See GAB. 

God bless the Duke Of Argyle! a Scottish insinuation made 
when one shrugs his shoulders, of its being caused by parasites or 
cutaneous affections. See SCOTCH FIDDLE, SCOTCH GREYS. It is said to 
have been originally the thankful exclamation of the Glasgow folk, at 
finding a certain row of iron posts, erected by his grace in that city to 
mark the division of his property, very convenient to rub against. Some 
say the posts were put up purposely for the benefit of the good folk of 
Glasgow, who were at the time suffering from the ' ' Scotch fiddle. " This 
is, however, but a Southern scandal. 

Gods, the people in the upper gallery of a theatre; "up amongst the 
GODS," a seat amongst the persons in the gallery so named from the 
high position of that part, and the blue sky generally painted on the 
ceiling of the theatre ; termed by the French, " paradis." 

Gods, the quadrats used by printers in throwing on the imposing stone, 
similar to the movement in casting dice. Printers' term. 

Go due north., to become bankrupt, to go to Whitecross Street. 
Nearly obsolete. 

Go for the gloves, to lay against a horse on the chance of its losing, 
without having the wherewithal to pay if it wins. Probably from 
the custom of ladies who bet GLOVES, and expect, as the racing men 
say, to "stand them to nothing," i.e., to be paid if they win, but not 
to pay if they lose. This is a last resource of the bankrupt turfite ; 
and the big handicaps at the end of the year, the Cesarewitch and 
Cambridgeshire, offer both temptation and opportunity to those who 
can only hope to recoup themselves for their previous losses by 
"GLOVING it" successfully. When, in the sporting papers it is stated 
that a settling at Tattersall's was more than usually unsatisfactory, it 
may be fairly assumed that the GLOVES have not been won by those 
who most desired them. 

Go in, to enter for, to apply oneself in pursuit oi. Men at the Universi- 


ties are said to GO IN for honours, aquatics, or whatever their chief 
desire or employment may be. The expre. c ?ion is now general. 

Go it, a term of encouragement, implying, ' ' keep it up !" Sometime* 
amplified to "GO IT, ye cripples ;" said to have been a facetious ren 
dering of the last line of Virgil's Eclogues 

" Ite domum saturae, venit Hesperus, ite capelkf" 
or, "GO IT, ye cripples, crutches are cheap." 

Goldbacked uns, body lice. Sometimes called greybacked tins. 

Goldfinches, sovereigns. Similar to Canaries. 

Gold-mine, any profitable investment, from a fried-fish shop to a remu- 
nerative speculation involving millions. 

Golgotha, a hat, "place of a skull." Hence the "Don's gallery," at 
St. Mary's, Cambridge, and that part of the theatre at Oxford where 
the heads of houses sit. 

Gol-mol, noise, commotion. Anglo-Indian. 

Golopshus, splendid, delicious, luscious. Norwich. 

Gonnof, an expert thief, a master of his craft ; one of the greatest com- 
pliments a London pickpocket can pay another is to say, ' ' he's a reglar 
GONNOF." See GUN. The word GONNOF is very old. During Kett's 
rebellion in Norfolk, in the reign of Edward VI., a song wag sung by 
the insurgents in which the term occurs 

" The country GNOFFES, Hob, Dick, and Hick, 

With clubbes and clouted shoon, 
Shall fill up Dussyn dale 
With slaughter'd bodies soone." 

Good people, the name given by country folk, evidently from fear of 
offending by any less decided term, to fairies, brownies, pixies, &c. 
Mothers often say to querulous children, ' ' I wish the GOOD PEOPLE 
would run away with you. " 

Goods, in the sporting world, men or horses. A horse or man of excep- 
tionable quality is called " good GOODS," and a backer will speak of 
either as being in his opinion " best GOODS," as compa. _vl with others 
in the race. 

Good time, an expressive phrase, which means all earthly bliss to the 
American mind. The finest reminiscence a Yankee can have is that 
of a GOOD TIME, wherever it may have been spent. No moderate 
amount of happiness is ever recorded in the register which denotes 
how often its possessor has " had a GOOD TIME." 

Good Woman, a not uncommon public-house sign, representing a 
woman without a head, the ungallant allusion is that she cannot 
scold. Maybe, the publican does not think that it means also that she 
cannot drink. The Honest Lawyer, another sign, is depicted in the 
same manner. 

Goose, a tailor's pressing iron. Originally a slang term, but now in most 

Goose; "Paddy's GOOSE, "*'.#., the White Swan, a celebrated public- 
house in Ratcliff Highway. 


GooS9, "to cook his GOOSE," to kill him ; the same as " to give him his 
gruel," or "settle his hash." 

Goose, "to get the GOOSE," "to be GOOSED," signifies to be hissed while 
on the stage. The big-bird, the terror of actors. See BIG BIRD. 

Goose, to ruin, or spoil ; to hiss a play. Theatrical. To be " sound on 
the GOOSE" is in America to be orthodox in one's political creed. 

Gooseberry, to " play up old GOOSEBERRY" with any one, to defeat or 
silence a person in a quick or summary manner. 

Gooseberry-pickers, sharp children, who are ostensibly placed in 
charge of their elder sisters, when the latter go out shopping, but who 
are in reality a check on any chance of flirtation. 

Goosecap, a simpleton, a booby, or noodle. Devonshire. 

Gooser, a settler, or finishing blow. 

Go over, in clerical slang, signifies to join the Church of Rome. 

Gorge, to eat in a ravenous manner. "Rotten GORGERS" are those hungry 
lads who hang about Covent Garden Market, and devour the discarded 

Gorger, a swell, a well-dressed, or gorgeous man probably derived from 
the latter adjective. Sometimes used to denote an employer, or prin- 
cipal, as the manager of a theatre. 

Gormed, a Norfolk corruption of a profane oath. So used by Mr. Peg- 
gotty in David Copperfitld. 

Gospel grinder, a City missionary, or tract-distributor. 
Gospel sliop, an irreverent term fora church or chapel of any denomi- 
nation. Mostly in use among sailors. 
Goss, a hat from the gossamer silk of which modern hats are made. 

GOBS, "to give a man GOSS," to requite an injury, to beat, or kill. 
This is an Americanism, and is applied variously. A steamboat cap- 
tain on the Mississippi, determined to pass his rival, called out, so the 
story goes, to the fireman, " Give her GOSS and let her rip, as I mean 
to pass that boat, or bust." 

Goth, an uncultivated person. One who is ignorant of the ways of 

Go the whole pile, to put all one's bank on a solitary chance. An 
Americanism which had its origin in the PILES of gold dust used as cir- 
culating medium by gambling miners. 

GoUTOCk ham, a salt herring. GOUROCK, on the Clyde, about twenty- 
five miles from Glasgow, was formerly a great fishing village. Scotch. 

Government sign-post, the gallows. This is necessarily almost 

Governor, a father, a master or superior person, an elder ; "which way, 
GUV'NER, to Cheapside ?" 

Gowler, a dog. Nrth Country Cant. Query, GROWLS*. 


Gownsman, a student at one of the universities, as distinguished from a 

Grab, to clutch, or seize ; GRABBED, caught, apprehended. 

Grace-Card, the six of hearts, so termed in Ireland. A Kilkenny gen- 
tleman, named GRACE, being solicited, with promises of royal favour, 
to espouse the cause of William III., gave the following answer, written 
on the back of the six of hearts, to an emissary of Marshal Schom- 
berg's, who had been commissioned to make the proposal to him : 
" Tell your master I despise his offer ; and that honour and conscience 
are dearer to a gentleman than all the wealth and titles a prince can 
bestow." This would have been a much better story had James II. 
been a better King, and had he not earned for himself, even among 
Catholic Irishmen, a disgraceful name, through his craven conduct at 
the Battle of the Boyne. 

Graft, work; "where are you GRAFTING?" i.e., where do you work? 
" What GRAFT are you at ?" what are you doing ? Perhaps derived 
from gardening phraseology ; or a variation of craft. 

Granny, a knot which will not hold, from its being wrongly and clumsily 
d. Sea. 

Granny, to know, or recognise ; " do ye GRANNY the bloke ?" do you 
know the man ? 

Grappling irons, fingers. Sea. 

Grass, "gone to GRASS," dead, a coarse allusion to burial ; absconded, 
or disappeared suddenly ; also, gone to waste ; it is said of wasted 
limbs that they have " gone to GRASS ;" " oh, go to GRASS," a common 
answer to a troublesome or inquisitive person, possibly a corruption 
of " go to GRACE," meaning, of course, a directly opposite fate. 

Grass, to knock down. Also to throw in a wrestling-match. " He 
GRASSED his man with a heavy righthander," or " He brought his man 
to GRASS by means of a swinging hipe. " 

Grass-comber, a country fellow, a haymaker. 
Grasshopper, a waiter at a tea-garden. 

Grass widow, an unmarried mother ; a deserted mistress. In the 
United States, during the gold fever in California, it was common for 
an adventurer to put both his wife (termed in his absence a GRASS- 
WIDOW) and his children to school during his absence. Also a married 
woman, resident in England, whose husband is in India or the 

Gravel, to confound, to bother; "I'm GRAVELLED, "i.e., perplexed or 
confused. Old. Also, to prostrate, to beat to the ground. 

Gravel-rash., a scratched face, telling its tale of a drunken fall. A 
person subject to this is called a GRAVEL-GRINDER. 

Gravesend sweetmeats, shrimps. GRAVESEND TWINS are solic 
particles of sewage. 

Gray, a halfpenny, with either two " heads" or two " tails" both sides 
alike. They are used for cheating the unwary at " Tommy Dodd," or 
pitch and toss. They are often ' ' rung in" with a victim's own money 


so that the caller of "heads" or "tails" cannot lose. Thus if A 
has to call, he or a confederate manages to mix the selected GRAYS 
with B's tossing halfpence. There are various and almost obvious 
uses for them. 

Gray-coat parson, a lay impropriator, or lessee of great tithes. 

Gray mare, a wife who "wears the breeches." From an old story in 
which the point is to show that the "GRAY MARE," the wife's choice, 
"is the better horse," and by parity of reasoning that the wife is 
superior to the husband. 

Grays, or SCOTCH GRAYS, lice. These pretty little things are called by 
many names, among others by those of GRAY-BACKS, and GOLD- 
BACKED UNS, which are popular among those who have most interest 
in the matter. 

Grease spot, a minute remnant, humorously the only distinguishable 

remains of an antagonist after a terrific contest. 
Greasing, bribing. Sometimes called " GREASING the palm" of a man's 

Grecian bend, modem milliner slang for an exaggerated bustle, the 

effect of which is generally assisted by unnaturally high-heeled boots. 

Greek, a wide-awake fellow, a sharper. 

Greek kalends, an expression signifying an indefinite period ; never. 
Term used in making promises never intended to be carried out. The 
Greeks had no KALENDS. 

Greeks, the low Irish. St. Giles's GREEK, slang or cant language. 
Cotgrave gives merrie GREEK as a definition for a roystering fellow, 
a drunkard. The GREEKS have always been regarded as a jolly, 
luxurious race ; so much so, that the Latins employed the verb 
Gracari (lit. to play the GREEK) to designate fine living and free 
potations, a sense in which Horace frequently uses it ; while Shalt 
speare often mentions the merry GREEKS ; and " as merry as a grig" 
(or GREEK) was long a favourite allusion in old English authors. It is 
said by some that grig is in this sense intended to represent the smaK 
eel of that name which from its lively movement? is supposed to be 
always merry; while others incline to the belief that the cricket, 
which is also in some parts of the provinces known as a grig, is 
meant. Readers may take their choice. 

Green, ignorant, not wide-awake, inexperienced. Shakspeare. "Do you 
see any GREEN in my eye ?" ironical question in a dispute. 

Greenbacks, the paper money issued in the United States during the 
war. The term was at first applied only to the notes for small 
amounts, which were backed with green, but eventually the one word 
represented all descriptions of what is now known in America as 

Green-horn, a fresh, simple, or uninitiated person. 

Greenlander, an inexperienced person, a spoon. Sometimes an Irish- 

Greenwich, goose, a pensioner of the Naval Hospital. 


Griddler, a person who sings in the streets without a printed copy of the 
words. Seven Dials. 

Gridiron, a County Court summons. Originally a summons to thfl 
Court of Westminster only ; from the GRIDIRON arms. The 
Graft on Club is nearly always known as the GRID or GRIDIRON, that 
instrument being brought into requisition whenever possible in the 

Gridiron and dough boys, the flag of the United States, in allu- 
sion to the stars and stripes. Sea. 

Grief, " to come to GRIEF," to meet with an accident, to be ruined. 

Griffin, in India, a newly-arrived cadet ; general for an inexperienced 

Grind, "to take a GRIND," i.e., a walk, or constitutional. The daily 
GRIND is a term representing employment containing much routine. 
At Oxford college sports are called sometimes the GRIND. 

Grind, to work up for an examination, to cram by oneself, or with a 
private tutor. 

Grinder, private tutor, a coach. University. 
Grinder, a tooth. 

Grindoff, a miller. From The Miller and his Men. 
Gripes, the stomach-ache. See TRIPES. 

Grist to th.6 mill, money to the pocket, food to the family ; anything 
which is supposed to add to a man's immediate prospects, to his income, 
or to his benefit in any way, is said to " bring GRIST TO THE MILL." 
Grizzle, to fret or cry continuously. 

Grog blossoms, pimples on the face, caused by hard drinking. Of 
such a person it is often said, ' ' He bears his blushing honours thick 
upon him." 

Grog-fight, a drinking party. Military. 

Groggy, tipsy ; when a prize-fighter becomes "weak on his pins," and 
nearly beaten, he is said to be GROGGY. The same term is applied 
to horses that are overworked and unsteady. From similarity of 
appearance to the peculiarity of gait consequent on imbibing too much 

Grove of the Evangelist, a facetious name for St. John's Wood. 
Growler, a four-wheeled cab. It is generally supposed that drivers ol 
these vehicles take a less favourable view of life than do their Hansom 
H-rub and bub, victuals and drink of any kind, GRUB signifying 

food, and BUB, drink. 

Grubbing ken, or SPINIKIN, a workhouse ; a cook-shop. 
Grubby, musty, or old-fashioned. Devonshire. 

Gruel, " to give a person his GRUEL," to kill him. An expression in all 
probability derived from the report of a trial for poisoning, or from 
the easiest manner of administering a dose of poison. In the old days 



a similar phrase was "to drag a posset." Compare "to settle hi 
hash," and "cook his goose." 

Guardevine, a cellaret. Scotch. 

Guinea pigs, habitual directors of public companies ; special jurymen ; 
and engineer officers doing civil duty at the War Office, and paid a 
GUINEA per diem. 

Guinea to a goose, a sporting phrase, meaning long odds in favour of, 
or against, anything under notice. In the City this state of things 
is represented by the phrase, Lombard Street to a China orange. There 
are also other colloquialisms on this subject, but their power is, as a rule, 
mainly dependent upon their indecency. 

Gulfed, originally a Cambridge term, denoting that a man is unable to 
enter for the classical examination from having failed in the mathe- 
matical. These men's names appeared in the list of "Degrees 
Allowed." The name GULF for this list is said to have arisen 
from the boast of a former "wooden spoon." " I would have you to 
know there is a great GULF between me and the captain of the poll." 
Candidates for classical honours were compelled to go in for both 
examinations. From the alteration of the arrangements, the term as 
thus applied is now obsolete. The expression is common now in 
Oxford as descriptive of a man who goes in for honours, and only gets 
a pass. An Honorary Fourth is when a candidate who only tries for 
a pass does so well that he is raised to the honours' list. 

Gull, to cheat, to deceive ; also one easily cheated. From the easy 
manner in which the bird of that name is deceived. 

Gullynuff, the waste coagulated dust, crumbs, and hair which accu- 
mulates imperceptibly in the pockets of schoolboys. 

Gully rakers, cattle thieves in Australia, the cattle being stolen out of 

almost inaccessible valleys, there termed GULLIES. 
Gulpin, a weak, credulous fellow, who will GULP down anything. 
Gummy, thick, fat generally applied to a woman's ankles, or to a man 

whose flabby person betokens him a drunkard. 
Gumption, or RUMGUMPTION, comprehension, capacity. From GAUM, 

to comprehend ; "I canna gauge it, and I canna GAUM it," as a 

Yorkshire exciseman said of a hedgehog. 
Gun, a magsman or street thief. Diminutive of gonnuf or gunnof. A 

GUN'S practice is known as GUNOVING. 
Gunner's daughter, a term facetiously applied to the method o* 

punishing boys in the Royal Navy by tying them securely to the 

breech of a cannon, so as to present the proper part convenient for the 

cat, and flogging them. This is called "marrying" or "kissing" the 

Gup, gossip. Anglo-Indian. 
Gurrawaun, a coachman, a native Indian corruption of the English 

word coachman. For another curious corruption of a similar kind, 

see SIMPKIN. Anglo-Indian. 


Gusher, one overflowing with sentiment, a rhapsodizer. Romance- 
reading young ladies are generally described as GUSHING, and of late 
years the word GUSH has done duty as representing the newspaper 
work necessary for a continuance of the " largest circulation." 

Gut scraper, a fiddler. 

Gutter blood, a low or vulgar man. Scotch. 

Gutter lane, the throat. Probably from GUTTUR. 

Guttle, see GUZZLE. 

Guy, a fright, a dowdy, an ill-dressed person. Derived from the effigy of 
Guy Fawkes carried about by boys on Nov. 5. " Hollo, boys, another 
GUY 1" 

Guy, to get away. Same as HEDGE in street phraseology, which see. 
Guzzle, to eat or drink to excess ; to eat loudly, hastily, and clumsily. 

Gyp, an undergraduate's servant at Cambridge. Popularly derived by 
Cantabs from the Greek, GYPS, (yity), a vulture, from the dishonest 
rapacity peculiar to GYPS. At Oxford servants are called scouts. 

Hackle, pluck ; " to show HACKLE," to be willing to fight. HACKLES 
are the long feathers on the back of a cock's neck, which he erects 
when angry, hence the metaphor. 

Hackslaver, to stammer in one's speech, like a dunce at his lesson. 

Haddock, a purse. See BEANS. 

Hair of the dog, a "modest quencher," taken the morning following 
a debauch. Originally a " HAIR OF THE DOG that bit you." This is 
very old, and seems to show that homoeopathy is by no means new, so 
far as topers, at all events, are concerned. 

Half-a-bean, half-a-sovereign. 

Half-a-bull, two shillings and sixpence. 

Half-a-COUter, half-a-sovereign. 

Half-a-hog, sixpence ; sometimes termed HALF-A-GRUNTER. 

Half-and-half, a mixture of ale and porter, much affected by medical 
students ; occasionally Latinized into "dimidium dimidiumque." 
Cooper is HALF-AND-HALF, made of stout and porter. The term of 
HALF-AND-HA.LF is also applied to the issue of marriages between 
gipsies and "white people." 

Half-a-stretch, six months in prison. 

Half-a-tUSherOOn, half-a-crown. 

Half-baked, soft, doughy, half-witted, silly. HALF-ROCKED has a 
similar meaning. 

Half-foolish, ridiculous j means often wholly foolish. 

Half Jack. See JACKS. 

Half- mourning, to have a black eye from a blow. As distinguished 
from " whole-mourning," two black eyes. 

Half-rocked, silly, half-witted. Derived from a vulgar idea that in the 
Westcountry children are nursed in a peculiar manner, which in after- 
life affects their wits. They are said to be nursed bottom upwards, so 

O 2 


as to sleep without much rocking. If this is inconsequent it is the 
fault of the saying and not of the dictionary. Compare HALF-BAKED. 

Half-seaS-OVer, reeling drunk. Sea. Used by Swift. 

Hall, THE, Leadenhall Market, among folk who get their livings thers, 
in the same way as " The Garden" refers to Covent Garden. 

Hand, a workman or helper, a person. " A cool HAND," explained by 
Sir Thomas Overbury to be " one who accounts bashiulness the 
wickedest thing in the world, and therefore studies impudence." 

Hailder, a second, or assistant. At some schools blows on the hand 

administered with a cane are so called. 

Handicap, an arrangement by which, in any description of sport, every 
competitor in a race is supposed to have a chance of winning equal to 
the chances of his opponents. HANDICAPPING, in horse-racing signi- 
fies the adjudgment of various weights to horses differing in age, power, 
and speed, so as to place them as much as possible on an equality. 
At other sports this equalization is managed by means of starts. 

The old game of HANDICAP (hand i' the cap) is a very different 
affair ; and, as it is now almost obsolete, being only played by gen- 
tlemen in Ireland, after hunting and racing dinners, when the wine 
has circulated pretty freely, merits a description here. It is played 
by three persons, in the following manner : A wishes to obtain some 
article belonging to B, say a horse ; and offers to "challenge" his 
watch against it. B agrees ; and C is chosen as HANDICAPPER to 
" make the award" that is, to name the sum of money that the owner 
of the article of lesser value shall give with it, in exchange for the 
more valuable one. The three parties, A, B, and C, put down a 
certain stake each, and then the HANDICAPPER makes his award. If 
A and B are both satisfied with the award, the exchange is made be- 
tween the horse and watch, and the HANDICAPPER wins, and takes up 
the stakes. Or if neither be satisfied with the award, the HANDI- 
CAPPER takes the stakes ; but if A be satisfied and B not, orviceversd, 
the party who declares himself satisfied gets the stakes. It is conse- 
quently the object of the HANDICAPPER to make such award as will 
cause the challenger and challenged to be of the same mind ; and con- 
siderable ingenuity is required and exhibited on his part. The chal- 
lenge having been made, as stated, between A's watch and B's horse, 
each party puts his HAND into a CAP or hat [or into his pocket] while C 
makes the award, which he purposely does in as rapid and complex a 
manner as possible. Thus, after humorously exaggerating the various 
excellences of the articles, he may say "The owner of the superior 
gold lever watch shall give to the owner of the beautiful thoroughbred 
bay horse, called Flyaway, the watch and fifteen half-crowns, seven 
crowns, eighteen half-guineas, one hundred and forty groats, thirteen 
sovereigns, fifty-nine pence, seventeen shillings and sixty-three far- 
things. Draw, gentlemen !" A and B must instantly then draw out 
and open their hands. If money appears in both, they are agreed, and 
the award stands good ; il money be in neither hand, they are also 
agreed, but the award is rejected. Il money be only in one hand, they 
are not agreed, the award is off. and the stakes ef> as already stated. 


Very frequently, neither A nor B is sufficiently quick in his mental cal- 
culation to follow the HANDICAPPER, and not knowing on the instant 
the total of the various sums in the award, prefers being "off," and, 
therefore, " draws " no money. As in this event the HANDICAPPER 
gets the stakes, the reason for the complex nature of his award is 

When HANDICAPPING has once commenced in a convivial party, it 
is considered unsportsmanlike to refuse a challenge. So when the 
small hours draw on, and the fun becomes fast and furious, coats, 
boots, waistcoats, even shirts are challenged, HANDICAPPED, and 
exchanged, amidst an almost indescribable scene of good humoured 
joviality and stentorian laughter. This is the true HANDICAP. The 
application of the term to horse-racing has arisen from one or more 
persons being chosen to make the award between persons, who put 
down equal sums of money, on entering horses unequal in power and 
speed for the same race. So that the HANDICAP has ultimately come 
to be regarded as an arrangement of a purely business-like nature, by 
which means affairs, no matter how much they may differ in degree, 
may be arranged satisfactorily by all parties. The use of the word 
is spreading rapidly, and it has already a sense beyond that of mere 

Handicap, to make even, as a Roland for an Oliver. Not long since in 
a pedestrian enclosure, a pugilist who had been specially retained on 
one side struck a member of the other party, who not being a fighting- 
man received the blow with apparent contentment. The injured person 
had, however, determined on being revenged, and about an hour after- 
wards he knocked the professional down with a big stick, using the 
words at the same time, " that HANDICAPS us" (that makes us even). 
The word is often used thus also : A man finding himself inferior to 
another at fisticuffs will, seizing a weapon, exclaim, "I'll HANDICAP 
you," i.f., I'll bring you to my level (or "level myself up") with this. 

Handle, a nose ; the title appended to a person's name ; also a term in 
boxing, " to HANDLE one's fists," to use them against an adversary. 

Handling, a method of concealing certain cards in the palm of the 
hand, or in fashionable long wristbands ; one of the many modes of 
cheating practised by sharpers. 

Hand-me-downs, second-hand clothes. See REACH-ME-DOWNS. 

Hand-saw, or CHIVE FENCER, a man who sells razors and knives in 
the streets. 

Handsellor, or CHEAP TACK, a street or open-air seller, a man who 
carries goods to his customers, instead of waiting for his customers to 
visit him. 

Hanging, in difficulties. A man who is in great straits, and who 
is, therefore, prepared to do anything desperate to retrieve his fortunes, 
is said, among sporting men, to be "a man HANGING," >., a man to 
whom any change mii"f hf for the better. 


Hangman's wages, thirteenpence halfpenny. Old. \^th century. 

" 'Sfoot, what a witty rogue was this to leave this fair thirteenpence halfpenny, and 
this old halter," intimating aptly 

' Had the hangman mat us there, by these presages 
Here had been his work, and here his wages." 

Match at Midnight. 

The clothes of the culprit were also the hangman's wages. See one of 
Lord Bacon's aphorisms, beginning " A cursed page." 

Hang out, to reside, in allusion to the ancient custom of hanging out 

Hang up, to rob with violence, to garrotte. Most likely from throttling 
associations in connexion with the practice of garrotting. 

Hannah, " that's the man as married HANNAH," a Salopian phrase to 
express a matter begun or ended satisfactorily. Meaning actually, 
"that's the thing." 

Hansel, or HANDSEL, the lucky money, or first money taken in the 
morning by a pedlar. Cocker's Dictionary, 1724. " Legs of mutton 
(street term for sheep's trotters, or feet) two for a penny ; who'll give 
me a HANSEL ? who'll give me a HANSEL ?" Hence, earnest money, 
first-fruits, &c. In Norfolk, HANSELLING a thing is using it for the 
first time, as wearing a new coat, taking seisin of it, as it were. 
Danish, HANDSEL ; Anglo-Saxon, HANDSELEN. 

Ha'porth O' coppers, Habeas Corpus. Legal slang. 

Ha'portll O' liveliness, the music at a low concert, or theatre. 
Also a dilatory person. 

Happy-gO-lucky, careless, indifferent as to the favours or reverses of 

Haramzadeh, a very general Indian term of contempt, signifying base- 
born. 'A nglo-Indian. 

Hard lines, hardship, difficulty. Soldiers' term for hard duty on the 
LINES in front of the enemy. LINES was formerly synonymous with 
Lot, see Ps. xvi. 6. Bible version " The LINES are fallen unto me in 
pleasant places j" Prayer- Book do. " The LOT is fallen unto me hi a 
fair ground." 

Hard mouthed un, any one difficult to deal with, a sharp bargainer, 
an obstinate person. Derivation obvious. 

Hard tack, ship biscuits. This is a term used by sailors to distinguish 
their ordinary sea-bread from that obtained on shore, which is called 
soft TACK, or soft tommy. HARD TACK is also a phrase used by the 
London lower classes to signify coarse or insufficient food. 

Hard-up, a cigar-end finder, who collects the refuse pieces of smoked 
cigars from the gutter, and having dried them, smokes them, or sells 
them as tobacco to the very poor. See TOPPER. 

Hard-up, in distress, poverty-stricken. Sea. 

Hardy, a stone. North. 

Harebrained, reckless, unthinking 


Harry, or OLD HARRY, (i.e., Old Hairy?) the Devil; "to play OLD 
HARRY with one," i.e., ruin or annoy him. 

Harry-soph, (tplootyoc, very wise indeed), a student of law or physic 
at Cambridge who, being of the same standing as the students in arts 
in his year, is allowed to wear a full-sleeved gown when they assume 
their B. A. gowns, though he does not obtain his actual degree so soon. 
An undergraduate in his last year is a Senior Soph, in his last term a 

Harum-scarum, wild, dissipated, reckless ; four horses driven in a line. 
This is also called SUICIDE. See TANDEM, RANDEM, UNICORN, &c. 

Hash., a mess, confusion ; "a pretty HASH he made of it;" to HASH UP, 
to jumble together without order or regularity. The term also occurs 
in the phrase " to settle his HASH," which is equivalent to " give him 
his gruel," or " cook his goose," i.e., to kill him. 

Hatchet, "to throw the HATCHET," to tell lies. Same am "to draw 
the long bow." 

Hatchet, " to sling the HATCHET," to skulk. Sea. 

Hawbuck, a vulgar, ignorant, country fellow, but one remove from the 

Hawse holes, the apertures in a ship's bows through which the cables 
pass ; " he has crept in through the HAWSE-HOLES," said of an officer 
who has risen from the grade of an ordinary seaman, whose original 
position in the vessel was forward before the mast Navy. 

Hay bag, a woman. 

Haymarket Hectors, bullies who, in the interest of prostitutes, 
affect the neighbourhood of Leicester Square and the Haymarket. 

Haze, to confuse and annoy a subordinate by contradictory, unnecessary, 
and perplexing orders. 

Hazy, intoxicated, also dull and stupid. 

Head-beetler, the bully of the workshop, who lords it over his fellow- 
workmen by reason of superior strength, skill in fighting, &c. Some- 
times applied to the foreman. 

Header, a plunge head foremost into water, or a fall in the same posture 
from accident. Nowadays a theatrical expression for any supposedly 
daring jump of hero or heroine in sensational dramas. 

Head or tail, "I can't make HEAD OR TAIL of it," i.e., cannot make 
it out. Originally a gambling phrase. 

Head-rails, the teeth. Sea. 

Head-serag, a master, overseer, or other important personage ; from 

SERANG, a boatswain. Bengalee, and Sea. 
Heap, "a HEAP of people," a crowd ; "struck all of a HEAP," suddenly 

Heat, a bout, or turn, in horse or foot racing. By means of heats the 

field is gradually reduced. 
Heavy dragoons, bugs, in contradistinction from fleas, which are 

" light infantry." Oxford University. 


Heavy wet, malt liquor because the more a man drinks of it, the 
heavier and more stupid he becomes. 

Hedge, to get away from any dangerous spot. " We saw the slop 
coming, and HEDGED at once." 

Hedge, to secure oneself from loss over one bet by making others. 
HEDGING, as a system of betting, is entirely dependent upon what 
happens in the market after a horse has been backed. From informa- 
tion, or good judgment, a backer selects, say, three horses, A, B, and 
C, whom he thinks likely to advance in the betting, and takes 50 to I 
say 1000 to 20 against each of them. As the race-day 
approaches the horse A may fall out of the betting, from accident or 
other cause, and have to be written off as a dead loss of 20. But 
the other two horses, as anticipated, improve in public favour, and the 
backer, who now becomes a HEDGER, succeeds in laying 5 to I say 
^500 to ^100 against B, and 2 to I say 500 to .250 against C. 
The account then stands thus : A is a certain loss of 20 ; but if B 
wins, the HEDGER will receive ^1000 and pay ^500 ; balance in 
favour, .500. K B loses, the HEDGER will receive ;ioo and pay 20 ; 
balance in favour, ^80. If C wins, the HEDGER will receive jiooo 
and pay ,500 ; balance in favour, ,500. If C loses, the HEDGER will 
receive ,250 and pay 20 ; balance in favour, .230. Deducting, 
then, the loss of 20 on A, the HEDGER'S winnings will be consider- 
able ; and he cannot lose, providing his information or judgment lead 
to the required result. It must be borne in mind that very often a 
man who feels inclined to go in for a HEDGING speculation, may back 
half a dozen horses, not one of which sees a short price or goes to the 
post ; besides which it must never be forgotten, that, however well turf 
speculations may look on paper, they are subject to the contingency 
of the bets being honourably paid on settling-day the Monday after a 
race when unfortunately there are often more " receivers" than 
" payers" at the clubs. However, turf transactions are among profes- 
sionals conducted at least as honourably as are any other business 
matters ; and it is only the fledgling swell, to whom the Legislature 
gives special opportunities of losing his money, who is generally 
non at when paytime comes. " The Druid" in Post and Paddock has 
remarked : 

"The term HEDGING has been quite superseded by " laying off ;" and we had, in 
fact, quite forgotten it till we saw it stated in the papers lately, by a clergyman, 
who did not answer a question on doctrine as the Bishop of Exeter exactl) 
liked, that his lordship addressed him to this effect : 'You are HEDGING, sir ; 
you are HEDGING !' " 

Usually correct as " The Druid" was, he seems to have fallen into an 
error here, as HEDGING, and "laying off," have been exchangeable 
, terms, as far as the oldest turfite can say. It should be remembered that 

HEDGING is generally done with the man who has originally laid the 
odds; for as a natural consequence, when the backer finds it convenient 
to hedge, the layer finds it equally so to back the horse back, the first 
loss being considered always the best by bookmakers who are book- 
makers. Besides which, the layer has generally a lot of "dead 
money" money to the good over horses he has laid against, which have 


since been struck out and this he profitably expends in backing cer- 
tain horses back for the purpose of levelling up the book. 
Hedge-popping, shooting small birds about the hedges, as boys do ; 
unsportsmanlike kind of shooting. 

Heel-tap, the small quantity of wine or other beverage left in the 
lx>ttom of a glass, considered as a sign that the liquor is not liked, and 
therefore unfriendly and unsocial to the host and the company. See 

Heigh-ho! a cant term for stolen yarn, from the expression used to 
apprize the dishonest shopkeeper that the speaker had stolen yarn to 
sell. Norwich Cant. 

Hell, a fashionable gambling-house. Small places of this kind are called 

" silver hells." Reason obvious. 
Hell and Tommy, utter destruction. 

Helter-skelter, anyhow, without regard to order or precedence. 
Hempen, cravat, the hangman's noose. 
Hen and Chickens, large and small pewter pots. 
Hen-pecked, said of one whose wife "wears the breeches." From 

the action of the hen in paired cage-birds. 
Herring-pond, the sea; "to be sent across the HERRING-POND," to 

be transported. 
Hiding, a thrashing. Webster gives this word, but not its root, HIDE, 

to beat, to flay by whipping. Most likely from the part attacked. The 

threat of thrashing is sometimes conveyed thus : " I'll tan (or dress) 

your HIDE." 

Higgledy-piggledy, confusedly, all together, as pigs lie. 
High and dry, an epithet applied to the soi-disant " orthodox" clergy 

of the last century, for whom, while ill-paid curates did the work, the 

comforts of the Establishment were its greatest charms. 

" Wherein are various ranks, and due degrees, 
The Bench for honour, and the Stall for ease." 

Though often confounded with, they are utterly dissimilar to, the 
modern High Church or Anglo-Catholic party, who now receive the 
title at times ; while their opponents receive the corresponding appel- 
lation of "Low and Slow, and the so-called "Broad Church is 
defined with equal felicity as the " Broad and Shallow." Humourists 
have divided these three portions of one Church into Attitudinarians, 
Platitudinarians, and Latitudinarians. 

High Church, term used in contradistinction from "Low Church." 

Highfalutin', showy, affected, tinselled, affecting certain pompous ot 
fashionable airs, stuck up ; " come, none of yer HIGHFALUTIN' games," 
i.e., you must not show off or imitate the swell here. American slang, 
now common in Liverpool and the East-end of London. From the 
Dutch, VERLOOTEN. Used generally now in the sense of fustian, 
high-sounding, unmeaning eloquence, bombast. 

High-flier, anything above the common order. Act students, fast 


coaches, and special trains are sufficient instances of the extreme open 
ness of the qualification. 

High-fly, "ON THE HIGH- FLY," on the genteel or letter-bearing 
begging system. 

High-flyer, a genteel beggar or swindler. A begging-letter impostor. 
High-flyer, a large swing, in frames, at fairs and races. The first fast 
coaches were called high-flyers on account of their desperate speed. 

High jinks, "ON THE HIGH JINKS," taking up an arrogant position, 
assuming an undue superiority. Scott explains this game in Guy 
Mannering. Nowadays HIGH JINKS is often used to mean a jolli- 

High-lows, laced boots reaching a trifle higher than ankle-jacks. 

High-Strikes, corruption of Hysterics. 

Hipped, bored, offended, crossed, low-spirited, &c. This may have 
been originally hypped, and have had some connexion with hypochon- 
driacal affections. 

Hitched, an Americanism for married. From the word HITCH, used in 
America in the sense of to harness. 

Hittite, a facetious sporting term for a prize-fighter. Derived from the 

Hivite, a student of St. Begh's College, Cumberland, which is pro- 
nounced and generally written St. Bee's. Literally, Hive-ite. 

Hoax, to deceive, or ridicule, Grose says this was originally a Univer- 
sity cant word. Corruption of HOCUS, to cheat. 

Hob and nob, to act in concert with another; to lay "heads together;" 
to touch glasses in drinking ; to fraternize in a convivial meeting or 
merry-making. Originally meaning "foot and head," the touching 
of the top of one glass with the bottom of another, and then reversing 
the order. Nowadays it means simply to clink glasses together as a 
salutation before imbibing. 

Hobbadehoy, a youth who has ceased to regard himself as a boy, and 
is not yet regarded as a man. 

Hobble, trouble of any kind. A man is said to be in a HOBBLE when 
he has offended the proprieties in any way, "from pitch and toss to 

Hobbled, committed for trial ; properly said of animals fed by the way- 
side, with their forelegs fastened together. Hence people who gather 
burdens about them are said to get into HOBBLES. 

Hob CollingWOOd, according to Brockett, a north country term for 
the four of hearts, considered an unlucky card. 

Hobson's choice, "this or none." Hobson was a carrier at Cam- 
bridge, and also a letter-out of horses for hire ; and is said to have 
always compelled his customers to take the horse that stood in the 
stall next the stable-door or none at all. He was a benefactor to 
the town, and Hobson's Conduit still stands as a memorial of him. 

Hock-dockies, shoes. 


Hocks, the feet and ankles; CURBY HOCKS, round or clumsy feet and 
ankles. Term originating with horsey men. 

HOCUS, to drag a person for purposes of robbery. The potion generally 
consists of snuff and beer among rogues of the lowest class, and is by 
them called "snuffing a bloke;" or sometimes, when the drug is 
administered to a woman for purposes other than those of robbery, 
" snuffing a bio wen." 

HOCUS pOCUS, gipsy words of magic, similar to the modern " presto 
fly." The gipsies pronounce "Habeas Corpus" HAWCUS PACCUS (see 
Crabb's Gipsies' Advocate, p. 18) ; can this have anything to do with the 
origin of HOCUS POCUS ? Turner gives OCHUS BOCHUS, an old demon. 
Pegge, however, states that it is a burlesque rendering of the words of 
the Roman Catholic Church service at the delivery of the host, HOC 
EST CORPUS, which the early Protestants considered as a species of 
conjuring, and ridiculed accordingly. 

Hodge, a countryman or provincial clown. Most country districts in 
England have one or more families in the name of HODGE ; indeed, 
GILES and HODGE appear to be the favourite hobnail nomenclature. 
HODGE is said to be simply an abbreviation of Roger. 

Hog, a shilling. Old Cant. 

Hog, " to go the whole HOG ;" " the whole HOG or none," to do anything 
with a person's entire strength, not "by halves;" realized by the 
phrase "in for a penny in for a pound." Bartlett claims this to be a 
pure American phrase ; whilst Ker, of course, gives it a Dutch origin. 
Old. "To go the whole HOG" is frequently altered by those people 
who believe there is wit in circumlocution, into "the entire animal," 
or ' ' the complete swine !" 

Hoga, do. "That wont HOGA," i.e., that wont do, is one of the very 
commonest of the Anglo-Indian slang phrases. 

Hogmagundy, the process by which the population is increased. 

" There's many a job that day begun 
That ends in Hogmagundy." Burns. 

Hogmany night, New Year's Eve, when presents are solicited by the 

young folk. Scotch. 
HogO, a tremendous stench. From haut go&t. Now often pronounced 


Hoisting, shoplifting. 

Hold hard, an exclamation made when a sudden stoppage is desired 

Originally an expression used in riding or driving, now general. 
Hollow, " to beat HOLLOW," to excel. 
Holy Joe, a sea-term for a parson. 
Holy Land, a very old term for the Seven Dials, where St. Giles's 

Greek is spoken. 
Homo, a man. Lingua Franca ; but see OMEE, the more usual Cockney 

Hondey, a Manchester name for an omnibus, and the abbreviation of 

HONDEYBUSH, the original Lancashire pronunciation oi the word. 


Honest Shilling, a shilling earned by a process actually immoral, but 
not positively illegal. The money earned by a prostitute is said to h j 
honest, as distinguished from that obtained by a thief. Probably from 
the story of the converted burglar, who determined to sin no more 
himself, and who lectured against dishonesty, but sent his wife out 
regularly every evening with instructions to earn an HONEST SHILLING. 

Honey blobs, a Scotch term for large ripe, yellow gooseberries. 

Honour bright, an asseveration which means literally, "by my honour, 
which is bright and unsullied." It is often still further curtailed to 
"HONOUR !" only. 

Hook, an expression at Oxford, implying doubt, either connected with 
Hookey Walker, or with a note of interrogation (?) "Yes, with a 
HOOK at the end of it !" i.e., with some reservation, generally that of 
doubt, by the speaker. 

Hook, to steal or rob. See the following. 

Hook or by crook, by fair means or foul in allusion to the hook 
with which footpads used to steal from open windows, &c., and from 
which HOOK, to take or steal, has been derived. Mentioned in Hudibras 
as a cant term. 

Hook it, "get out of the way," or "be off about your business;" 
generally varied by " take your HOOK." " To HOOK it," to run away, 
to decamp; "on one's own HOOK," dependent _upon one's own 
exertions. Originally connected with the pre'ceding, but now 
perfectly "on its own HOOK." 

Hookey walker ! ejaculation of incredulity, usually shortened to 
WALKER ! which see. 

Hooks, "dropped off the HOOKS," said of a deceased person possibly 
derived from the ancient practice of suspending on hooks the quarters 
of a traitor or felon sentenced by the old law to be hung, drawn, and 
quartered, which dropped off the hooks as they decayed. 

Hook Uin snivey (formerly "HOOK and SNIVEY"), a low expression, 
meaning to cheat by feigning sickness or other means. Also a piece 
of thick iron wire crooked at one end, and fastened into a wooden 
handle, for the purpose of undoing from the outside the wooden bolt 
of a door. Sometimes used as an irrelevant answer by street boys. As, 
" who did that?" " HOOK UM SNIVEY" actually no one. 

Hop, a dance. Fashionable slang. 

Hop merchant, a dancing master. 

Hop O* my thumb, an undersized person. From the story of tha> 
name. Portion of a set of phrases established for the benefit of the 
small, in which Tomtit, Little Breeches, Daniel Lambert, Sixfoot, 
Twentystun, &c., play a prominent part. 

Hopping Giles, a cripple. St. ^Egidius or Giles, himself similarly 
afflicted, was the patron saint of lazars and cripples. The ancient lazar 
houses were dedicated to him. 

oppo, custom-house officer, or custom-house. Almost anything con- 
nected with custom-house business. Anglo- Chinese. 


Hop the twig, to run away ; also, a flippant expression meaning to die. 
Many similar phrases are used by the thoughtless and jocose, as 
"laying down one's knife and fork," "pegging out," from the game 
of cribbage, and "snuffing it." A new form of this phraseology is to 
say that a man has " given up" or "given in." 

Hornswoggle, nonsense, humbug. Believed to be of American origin. 

Horrors, the low spirits, or "blue devils," which follow intoxication. 
Incipient del. trem. 

Horse, contraction of Horsemonger-Lane Gaol, also a slang term for a 
five-pound note. 

Horse, to flog. From the old wooden horse or flogging-stool. 


Horse chaunter, a dealer who takes worthless horses to country 
fairs and disposes of them by artifice. He is generally an unprincipled 
fellow, and will put in a glass eye, fill a beast with shot, plug him with 
ginger, or in fact do anything so that he sells to advantage. See 


Horse marine, an awkward person. In ancient times the "jollies," or 
Royal Marines, were the butts of the sailors, from their ignorance of 
seamanship. " Tell that to the MARINES, the blue jackets wont 
believe it !" was a common rejoinder to a " stiff yarn." A HORSE 
MARINE (an impossibility) was used to denote one more awkward even 
than an ordinary "jolly." Nowadays the MARINES are deservedly 
appreciated as one of the finest regiments in the service. 

Horse nails. At the game of cribbage, when a player finds it his 
policy to keep his antagonist back, rather than push himself forward, 
and plays accordingly, he is sometimes said "to feed his opponent on 


Horse nails, money. Compare BRADS. 

Horse's nightcap, a halter ; "to die in a HORSE'S NIGHTCAP," to be 

Horsey, like a groom or jockey. Applied also to persons who affect the 
turf in dress or conversation. 

Hot coppers, the feverish sensations experienced in the morning by 
those who have been drunk over-night. 

Hot tiger, an Oxford mixture of hot-spiced ale and sherry. 

House of Commons, a humorous term for the closet of decency. 

Houses ; " safe as HOUSES," an expression to satisfy a doubting person ; 
" Oh ! it's as safe as HOUSES," i.e., perfectly safe, apparentlyin allusion 
to die paying character of house property as an investment. It is said 
the phrase originated when the railway bubbles began to burst, and 
when people began to turn their attention to the more ancient form? 
of speculation, which though slow were sure. 

Housewarming, the first friendly gathering in a new or freshly-occu- 
pied house. 

HoW-Came-yoU-SO P intoxicated. 

How mUAh P A facetious way of asking for an expUmation ol any 


difficult or pedantic expression. " Why don't you cook your potatoes 
in an anhydrohepsaterion ?" A waggish listener might be excused for 
asking, " An anhydro HOW MUCH !" 

How's your poor feet ? an idiotic street cry with no meaning, much 
in vogue a few years back. 

H OXter, an inside pocket. Old English, OXTER. Probably the low 
slang word HUXTER, money, is derived from this. OXTER is, among 
the Irish, an armpit. 

Hubble bubble, the Indian pipe termed a hookah is thus designated, 
from the noise it makes when being smoked. 

Huey, a town or village. Tramps' term. 

Huff, a dodge or trick ; "don't try that HUFF on me," or "that HUFF 
wont do." Also a term in the game of draughts, the penalty for 
failing to take an opponent's piece when an opportunity occurs. 

Huff, to vex, to offend ; a poor temper. HUFFY, easily offended. 
HUFFED, annoyed, offended. Some folk are tersely and truly described 
as easily HUFFED. 

Hugger-mugger, underhand, sneaking. Also, " in a state of HUGGER- 
MUGGER" means to be muddled. 

Hulk, to hang about in hopes of an invitation. See MOOCH. 

Hulky, extra-sized. Shropshire. From this and from hulk we probably 
get our adjective HULKING, as applied to the great lazy ruffians who 
infest low neighbourhoods. 

Hum and haw, to hesitate, or raise objections. Old English. 

Humble pie, to " eat HUMBLE PIE," to knock under, to be submissive. 
The UMBLES, or entrails, and other unprime parts of a deer, were 
anciently made into a dish for servants, while their masters feasted off 
the haunch. 

Hum-box, a pulpit. This is a very old term. 

Humbug, an imposition, or a person who imposes upon others. A 
very expressive but slang word, synonymous at one time with HUM 
AND HAW. Lexicographers for a long time objected to the adoption 
of this term. Richardson uses it frequently to express the meaning of 
other words, but, strange to say, omits it in the alphabetical arrange- 
ment as unworthy of recognition ! In the first edition of this work, 
1 785 was given as the earliest date at which the word could be found in 
a printed book. Since then HUMBUG has been traced half a century 
Jurther back, on the title-page of a singular old jest-book " 77te 
Universal Jester ; or a pocket companion for the Wits : being a choice 
collection of merry conceits, facetious drolleries, &c., clenchers, 
closers, closures, bon-mots, and HUMBUGS," by Ferdinando Killigrew. 
London, about 1735-40. 

The notorious Orator Henley was known to the mob as ORATOR 
HUMBUG. The fact may be learned from an illustration in that exceed- 
ingly curious little collection of Caricatures, published in 1757, many 
of which were sketched by Lord Bolingbroke Horace Walpole filling 
in the names and explanations. Hal livvell describes HUMBUG as "a 


person who hums," and cites Dean Milles's MS., which was written about 
1760. In the last century, the game now known as double-dummy was 
termed HUMBUG. Lookup, a notorious gambler, was struck down by 
apoplexy when playing at this game. On the circumstance being 
reported to Foote, the wit said " Ah, I always thought he would be 
HUMBUGGED out of the world at last !" It has been stated that the 
word is a corruption of Hamburgh, from which town so many false bul- 
letins and reports came during the war in the last century. " Oh, that 
\sjfamburgh [or HUMBUG]," was the answer to any fresh piece of news 
which smacked of improbability. Grose mentions it in his Dictionary, 
1785 ; and in a little printed squib, published in 1808, entitled Bath 
Characters, by T. Goosequill, HUMBUG is thus mentioned in a comical 
couplet on the title-page : 

" Wee Thre Bath Deities bee, 
HUMBUG, Follie, and Varietee." 

Gradually from this time the word began to assume a place in perio- 
dical literature, and in novels written by not over-precise authors. In 
the preface to a flat, and most likely unprofitable poem, entitled, The 
Reign of HUMBUG, a Satire, 8vo, 1836, the author thus apologizes for 
the use of the word: ; ' I have used the term HUMBUG to designate 
this principle [wretched sophistry of life generally], considering that, 
it is now adopted into our language as much as the words dunce, 
jockey, cheat, swindler, &c., which were formerly only colloquial 
*erms." A correspondent, who in a number of Adversaria ingeniously 
traced bombast to the inflated Doctor Paracelsus Bombast, considers 
that HUMBUG may, in like manner, be derived from Homberg, the dis- 
tinguished chemist of the court of the Duke of Orleans, who, according 
to the following passage from Bishop Berkeley's Siris, was an ardent 
and successful seeker after the philosopher's stone ! 

**J 194. Of this there cannot be a better proof than the experiment of Mon- 
sieur Homberg, who made gold of mercury by introducing light into its 
pores, but at such trouble and expense that, I suppose, nobody will try the 
experiment for profit. By this injunction of light and mercury, both bodies 
became fixed, and produced a third different to either, to wit, real gold. For 
the truth of which fact I refer to the memoirs of the French Academy of 
Sciences." Berkeley's Works, vol ii. p. 366 (Wright's edition). 

Another derivation suggested is that of AMBAGE, a Latin word adopted 
into the English language temp. Charles I. (see May's translation of 
Lucan's Pharsalia), and meaning conduct the reverse of straight 
forward. Again, in the (burlesque) Loves of Hero and Leander 
(date 1642), we find " MUM-BUG, quoth he, 'twas known of yore," * 
cant expression, no doubt, commanding a person to "shut up," or 
hold his tongue, and evidently derived from the game of mum-budget 
or silence, upon which Halliwell (Diet. Arch.) has descanted. 

AMBAGE is also used in the sense of "circumlocution." "Without any long stud it 
or tedious AMBAGB." Pitttenham, Art of Poesie. 

Umh ! y* are full of AMBAGE." Deckers Whore of Babylon, 1607. 

" Thus from her cell Cumsean Sibyl sings 
Ambiguous AMBAGES, the cloyster rings 
With the shrill sound thereof, in most dark strains." 

Vica*>* rirril. 163*. 


De Quincey thus discourses upon the word : 

"The word HUMBUG, for instance, rests upon a rich and comprehensive basis; it 
cannot be rendered adequately either by German or by Greek, the two richest 
of human languages ; and without this expressive word we should all be dis- 
armed for one great case, continually recurrent, of social enormity. A vast 
mass of villany, that cannot otherwise be reached by legal penalties, or brought 
within the rhetoric of scorn, would go at large with absolute impunity were it 
not through the stern Rhadamanthean aid of this virtuous and inexorable 
word." Article on "Language." 

The original collator of these notes purchased the collection of essays 
known as the Connoisseur at the sale of Thackeray's library. At the 
end of vol. i. he found a memorandum in the great humourist's hand- 
writing "p. 108, 'HUMBUG,' a new-coined expression." On referring 
to that page (in the 3rd edition, 1757) this paragraph was noted : 

" The same conduct of keeping close to their ranks was observed at table, where 
the ladies seated themselves together. Their conversation was here also con- 
fined wholly to themselves, and seemed like the mysteries of the Sana Dea, in 
which men were forbidden to have any share. It was a continued laugh and 
whisper from the beginning to the end of dinner. A whole sentence was scarce 
ever spoken aloud. Single words, indeed, now and then broke forth ; such as, 
odious, horrible, detestable, shocking, HUMBUG. This last new-coined expres- 
sion, which is only to be found in the nonsensical vocabulary, sounds absurd 
and disagreeable whenever it is pronounced ; but from the mouth of a lady it 
is 'shocking,' ' detestable,' 'horrible,' and 'odious.' " 

The use of this term is almost universal ; in California there is a town 
called Humbug Flat a name which gives a significant hint of the 
acuteness of the first settler. 

Humdrum, monotonous, tedious, tiresome, boring; "a society of 
gentlemen who used to meet near the Charter House, and at the King's 
Head, St. John's Street, Clerkenwell. They were characterized by 
less mystery and more pleasantry than the Freemasons." Bacchus and 
Venus, 1737. In the West the term applies to a low cart. 

Humming, strong as applied to drink. Extra strong ale is often charac- 
terized as "HUMMING October." Maybe from its effect on heads 
not quite so strong. 

Hump, low spirits. A costermonger who was annoyed or distressed 
about anything would describe himself as having " the HUMP." 

Hump, to botch, or spoil. 

Hump up, " to have one's HUMP UP," to be cross or ill-tempered 
like a cat with its back set up. Set BACK and MONKEY. 

Humpty-dumpty, short and thick ; all of a heap ; all together, like 
an egg. 

" HUMPTY-DUMPTY sat on a walL 

Also a hunchback. HUMPTY is an abbreviated form of the expression, 
Hunch, to shove, or jostle. 
Hunks, a miserly fellow, a curmudgeon. 
Hunky, an American term which means good, jolly, &c. As, "aHUNKV 

boy," a good jovial fellow; and "everything went off HUNKY." 
Hunter pitching, the game of cockshies three throws a 



Hurdy-gurdy, a droning musical instrument shaped like a large fiddle, 
and turned by a crank, used by Savoyards and other itinerant foreign 
musicians in England, now nearly superseded by the hand-organ. From 
the peculiar noise made by the instrument, which in Italy is called 

Hurkaru, a messenger. Anglo-Indian. 

Husbands' boat, the Saturday afternoon packet to Margate during 
the summer season. So called for obvious reasons. The passengers 
by this boat come in for an unusual share of attention from the cads 
peculiar to this watering-place. 

Husbands' tea, very weak tea. See WATER BEWITCHED. 

Hush-money, a sum given to quash a prosecution or stay evidence. 
Money given to any one for the purpose of quieting him. 

Hush-shop, or CRIB, a shop where beer and spirits are sold "on the 
quiet" no licence being paid. 

Huxter, money. Term much in use among costermongers and low 
sharpers. Probably from OXTER or HOXTER. 

Hyps, or HYPO, the blue devils. From HYPOCHONDRIASIS. Swift. 

Hy-yaw ! an inter] ectional exclamation of astonishment. Anglo- Chinese. 

Ikey, a Jew "fence." Corruption of Isaac, a common Hebrew name. 

Imperence, servant-girl currency for impudence or impertinence. 
"Now, then, Mr. INFERENCE, leave off now, do," seems, however, 
to have faded away with Greenwich, Bartlemy, and kindred fairs. 

Improve the occasion, a slang term much in use among Chad- 
bands and Stigginses, who never lose an opportunity of IMPROVING 
the condition of either pockets or stomachs at the expense of the 

In, " to be IN with a person," to be even with, or up to him ; also, tob# 
on intimate terms, or in partnership, with him. 

ABLES, or SIT UPONS, trousers, the nether garments. All affected terms, 
having their origin in a most unpleasant squeamishness. 

Infantry, nursery term for children ; LIGHT INFANTRY, fleas. 

In for it, in trouble or difficulty of any kind. As, " You're IN FOR IT, 
I. wouldn't stand in your shoes for a trifle." 

In for patter, waiting for trial, referring to the speeches of counsel, the 
statements of witnesses, the summing up of the judge, &c., the fuss 
of which the prisoner sets down as "all so much PATTER." 

Innings, earnings, good fortune ; "he's had a long INNINGS," i.e., a 
good run of luck, with plenty of cash flowing in. From the distinction 
between INNINGS and outings at cricket and kindred games. 

Inside lining, dinner, &c. 

Interesting, " to be in an INTERESTING situation," applied to femalei 
when enceinte. 

Interview, to inspect privately with a view to obtaining informatio* 
which shall be afterwards published. Both the verb and its use have 



their origin with >ur Transatlantic cousins, and " interviewing " by 
means of special reporters, who question most minutely, is of frequent 
occurrence, of occurrence whenever opportunity offers. Should a 
man be found guilty of murder, or start as a candidate for the Presi- 
dency, he will be INTERVIEWED by " our special correspondent," and 
there are already signs of this objectionable form of newspaper work 
finding its way here. Should a visitor of importance arrive in New 
York, the conversation which passes, or is supposed to pass, between 
him and the reporter will be found minutely described, with an elaborate 
introduction. It is but fair to Americans, however, to say that the 
gentleman to whom the credit, or discredit, of the invention of this 
system belongs was a native of Great Britain, who invented many othel 
startling Americanisms during his residence in New York. 

Into, "hold my hat, Jim, I'll be INTO him," i.e., I will fight him. In 
this sense equivalent to pitch INTO, or slip INTO. 

Invite, an invitation a corruption used by stuck-up people of mush- 
room origin. Often used, also, by people who know better, from their 
desire for slang of any kind. 

Ipsal dixal, Cockney corruption of ipse dixit said of one's simple un- 
corroborated assertion. 

Irish. American, an Irishman who has been for some time resident in 
the States ; sometimes a man born in America of Irish parents. T^e 
Irish American body is a power in the United States, and is the fount- 
spring as well as the maintaining power of all Fenianism. 

Irish apricots, potatoes. 

Irish Cockney, a child born of Irish parents in any part of the southern 
counties of England. It is a singular fact that Irishmen born pro- 
fess great abhorrence of IRISH COCKNEYS, while the latter despise all 
Irish, and use the word as one of reproach. IRISH COCKNEYS were 
originally only Cockneys born of an Irish strain, but the term has 
proved very elastic, and threatens soon to mean any English-born person 
whose descent is Hibernian. Liverpool will, however, always prove 
an exception to the rule, as the name " Liverpool Irishmen" is given to 
those who would in any southern part be called Cockneys. 

Irish theatre, the temporary prison, guard-room, or lock-up in a bar- 
racks. The fond fancy of the soldier supplies it with other figurative 
appellations, as " the mill," " the jigger, " the house that Jack built." 
In Edinburgh Castle it is termed " the dryroom." 

Irons in the fire, a man is said to have too many IRONS IN THE FIRE 
when he turns his attention to too many occupations or enterprises at 

Isthmus Of Suez, the covered bridge at St. John's College. Cam- 
bridge, which connects the college with its grounds on the other sJe 
of the river. See CRACKLE. 

Ivories, teeth ; " a box of IVORIES," a set of teeth, the mouth ; " wash 
your IVORIES," *.&, " drink." The word is also used to demote dice. 

Jabber, to talk, or chatter. A cant word in Swift's time. Probab v 
from GIBBER. 


Jack, the knave of trumps, at the game o f all-fours. 

Jack-at-a-pinch, one whose assistance is only sought on an emergency. 
Jack-in-the-water, an attendant at the watermen's stairs on the river 
and sea-port towns, who does not mind wetting his feet for a customer's 
convenience, in consideration of a douceur. 

Jacked-up, mined, done for. To JACK-UP is to leave off doing any- 
thing suddenly. See CHUCK-UP. 

Jacket, the skin of a potato which has not been pared before cooking. 
In Ireland potatoes are generally served " with their JACKETS on." 

Jacketing, a thrashing. Similar term to leathering, cowhiding, &c. 

Jackey, gin. Seven Dials originally. Nei-Iy general now. 

Jack-in-the-box, a small but powerful kind of screw, used by burglars 
to break open safes. 

Jack Ketch, the public hangman. See KETCH. 

Jack Nasty -face, a sailor. Sea. NASTY-FACE is a term applied often 
in London streets to an ugly or unpleasant- looking person. 

Jacks, AND HALF-JACKS, card counters, resembling in size and appear- 
ance sovereigns and half-sovereigns, for which they are occasionally 
passed to simple persons. In large gambling establishments the " heaps 
of gold" are frequently composed of JACKS. JACKS are not, as they are 
sometimes supposed to be, counterfeit coins ; they are simply little 
medals, and so " magsmen" and " street muggers " carry them with less 
concern than they would feel were their pockets loaded with spurious 

Jack Sprat, a diminutive boy or man. 

Jack Tar, a sailor. 

Jacob, a ladder. Grose says, from Jacob's dream. Old Cant. 

Jacob's ladder, a longitudinal flaw in the leg of a ballet-girl's tights. 

Jagger, a gentleman. German, JAGER, a sportsman. 

Jail-bird, a prisoner, one who has been in jail. 

James, a sovereign, or twenty shillings. From JACOBUS, the James II. 

Jannock, sociable, fair dealing. Norfolk. Generally now JONNICK, 
which see. 

Japan, to ordain. Having evident reference to the black clothes which 
follow ordination. University. 

Jark, a " safe-conduct" pass. Oxford. Old cant for a seal. 

Jarvey, the driver of a hackney-coach ; " JARVEY'S upper Benjamin," a 
coachman's overcoat, with many capes. An ingenious etymology has 
been found for JARVEY, thus : JARVEY, vernacular for Geoffrey, which 
was often written Geo. (gee-ho), hence JARVEY. This is open to con- 
siderable objection, as George is shortened in similar manner to that 
shown above. Still it is worthy of record, independently of its inge- 
nuity, being as exact as many accepted derivations. 

Jaw, speech, or talk ; " hold your JAW," don't speak any more ; " what 
are you JAWING about ?" i.e., what are you making a noise about ? 

P 2 


Jaw, to talk without cessation, to scold vehemently. 
Jawbone, credit. 

" We have a few persons whose pockets are to let men who have more complaints 
than dollars individuals who, in digger's parlance, live on JAWBONE (credit) 
and are always to be found at saloons ; a class of men who, when they are here, 
wish themselves yonder, and when yonder, wish themselves back." Timet 
Correspondent, San Francisco, Oct. 21, 1862. 

Jaw-breaker, a hard or excessively long word. Also, in pugilistic 

sense, a hard blow on the side of the face. 
Jaw-twister, a hard or many-syllabled word. Elaboration of preceding. 

Jazey, a wig. A corrupt!, >n of JERSEY, the name for flax prepared in a 
peculiar manner, of which common wigs were formerly made ; "the 
cove with the JAZEY," i.e., the judge. 

Jeames (a generic for "flunkeys"), the Morning Post newspaper the 
organ of Belgravia and the " Haristocracy. " 

Jehu, old slang term for a coachman, or one fond of driving. Biblical* 

Jeminy O ! a vulgar expression of surprise. 

Jemmy, a sheep's-head. See SANGUINARY JAMES. 

Jemmy, a short crowbar, which generally takes to pieces, for the conve- 
nience of housebreakers. 

?emmy ducks, the man whose business it is to look after the poultry 
on board a ship. Sea. 

Jemmy Jessamy, a dandy. 

Jemmy -John, a jar for holding liquor ; probably a corruption of demi- 
gallon, by means of DEMI-JOHN. 

Jeremiad, a lament ; derived, of course, from the Book of Lamentations, 
written by the Prophet Jeremiah. 

Jeremy Diddler, an adept at raising the wind, i.e., at borrowing, 
especially at borrowing with no intention of repaying. See the farce of 
Raising the Wind. 

Jericho, an improper quarter of Oxford. A lady visitor once writing her 
name down in the visitors' book at the Bodleian or elsewhere, for a joke 
put down her residence as "Jericho," to the no small disgust of her 
undergraduate friend. University. 

Jerry, a chamber utensil ; abbreviation of JEROBOAM. Swift. 

Jerry, a watch. "JERRY nicking" or "JERRY sneaking" is watch- 
stealing, which is a distinct form of street robbery, and requires both 
courage and dexterity ; for it is done, as the thieves say, " right afore 
a bloke's face." 

Jerry, to jibe or chaff cruelly. Development of jeer. 

Jerry-gO-nimble, the diarrhosa. Derivation apparent. 

Jerry Lynch, a pig's head pickled. Term usually applied to the long 
Irish heads which are sent over here for sale in the poorer districts of 
London, and which are vastly different from the heads of " dairy-fed" 

Jerry shop, a beer-house. Contraction of " Tom and Jerry." 


Sneak, a hen-pecked husband, a character in the Mayor of 
Garret. Also, a stealer of watches. 

Jerusalem pony, a donkey. 

Jessie, "to give a person JESSIE," to beat him soundly. Set GAS. 

Jew fencer, a Jew street salesman. 

Jew's eye, a popular simile for anything valuable. Probably a corrup- 
tion of the Italian, GIQJE ; French, JOAILLE, a jewel. In ancient 
times, when a king was short of cash, he generally issued orders for so 
many JEWS' EYES, or equivalent sums of money. The Jews preferred 
paying the ransom, although often very heavy. It is notorious that in 
this country the order often went forth to draw Jews' teeth in the event 
of their refusing to contribute so much to the Exchequer. A probable 
idea is, that as a Jew's teeth brought in so much money, the value of a 
JEW'S EYE must be something fabulous. Possibly, also, from the lex 
talionis so strongly believed in by Jews, an eye for an eye, and 
nothing less. The term is used by Shakspeare. 

Jezebel, a showily-dressed woman of suspected character ; derived, of 
course, from 2 Kings ix. 30, but applied in this sense from the time of 
the Puritans. Also, a hot-tempered female. 

Jib, a first-year man. Dublin University. 

Jib, or JIBBER, a horse that starts or shrinks. Shakspeare uses it in the 
sense of a worn-out horse. 

Jib, the face, or a person's expression ; " the cut of his JIB," i.e., his pecu- 
liar appearance. That sail of a ship, which in position and shape, cor- 
responds to the nose on a person's face. Sea. A vessel is often 
known by the cut of the JIB sail ; hence the popular phrase, " to know 
a man by the cut of his JIB." 

Jibb, the tongue. Gipsy and Hindoo. (Tramps' term.) Thence extended 
to mean language. 

Jiffy, " in a JIFFY," in a moment. 

Jigger, a door; "dub the JIGGER," shut the door. Ancient cant, 
GYGER. In billiards, the bridge or rest is often termed the JIGGER. 
Also, the curtain of a theatre. JIGGER has many meanings, the word 
being applied to any small mechanical contrivance. Printers use the 
word for a little machine which guides the eye when copy is minute. 

Jigger, a secret still for the manufacture of illicit spirits. 

Jigger, " I'm JIGGERED if you will," a common form of mild swearing. 

Jigger-dubber, a term applied to a gaoler or turnkey. 

Jiggot O* mutton, a leg of mutton. From Fr. GIGOT. 

Jilt, a crowbar or house-breaking implement. 

Jingo, "by JINGO," a common form of oath, said to be a corruption - 
ST. GINGOULPH. Vide Halliwell. 

Jo, Scotticism for a man or lover. As "John Anderson, my jo, John." 

Job, "a JOB lot," otherwise called a "sporting lot," any miscellaneous 
good* purchased at a cheap rate, or to be sold a bargain. Frequently 


used to conceal the fact of their being stolen, or otherwise dishonestly 

Job, a short piece of work, a prospect of employment. Johnson describes 
JOB as a low word, without etymology. It is, and was, however, a 
cant word ; and a JOB, two centuries ago, was an arranged robbery. 
Even at the present day it is mainly confined to the streets, in the 
sense of employment for a short time. Amongst undertakers a JOB 
signifies a funeral ; "to do a JOB," conduct any one's funeral ; "by 
the JOB," i.e., piece-work, as opposed to time-work. A JOB in political 
phraseology is a Government office or contract, obtained by secret 
influence or favouritism. Any unfair arrangement is now called a JOB. 

Job, a sudden blow, as "a JOB in the eye." Also used as a verb, " I'll 
JOB this here knife in your ribs." 

Jobation, a chiding, a reprimand, a trial of the hearer's patience. 

Jobbery, the arrangement of jobs, or unfair business proceedings. 

Job's comfort, reproof instead of consolation. 

Job's comforter, one who brings news of additional misfortunes. Both 
these words are of Biblical origin. 

Job's turkey, "as poor as JOB'S TURKEY," as thin and as badly fed as 
that ill-conditioned and imaginary bird. 

Jocteleg, a shut-up knife. Corruption of Jacques de Liege, a famous 

Joe, a too marvellous tale, a lie, or a stale joke. Abbreviated from JOE 
MILLER. The full name is occasionally used, as in the phrase " I don't 
see the JOE MILLER of it," i.e,, I don't perceive the wit you intend, or 
I don't see the fun of doing it, whatever may have been the request. 

Joey, a fourpenny piece. The term is derived (like BOBBY from Sir 
Robert Peel) from Joseph Hume. The explanation is thus given in 
Hawkins's History of the Silver Coinage of England : 

"These pieces are said to have owed their existence to the pressing instance of 
Mr. Hume, from whence they, for some time, bore the nickname of JOEYS. As 
they were very convenient to pay short cab fares, the hon. M. P. was extremely 
unpopular with the drivers, who frequently received only a groat where other- 
wise they would have received a sixpence without any demand for change." 

The term, therefore, was originated by the London cabmen, who have 

invented many other popular phrases. Fancy offering a modern hansom 

cabman a JOEY ! 

Jog-trot, a slow but regular trot, or pace. 
Jogul, to play up, at cards or other game. Spanish, JUGAE. 
Jobll Blunt, a straightforward, honest, outspoken man. 
Johnny, half-a-glass of whisky. Irish. 
Johnny Darbies, a nickname for policemen, an evident corruption of 

the French GENSDARMES. Also, a term applied to handcufis. See 


Johnny Raw, a newly-enlisted soldier. 

John Orderly, the signal to shorten the performance at a show. 
Whenever the master, who remains on the platform cutside to take 


the money and regulate the performance, desires to refill the booth, he 
pokes his head inside and shouts, " Is JOHN ORDERLY there ?" The 
actors instantly cut the piece short, the curtain falls, and the spectators 
are bundled out at the back, to make room for the fresh audience. 
According to tradition, JOHN ORDERLY was a noted showman, who 
taught this move to the no less noted Richardson. This is like the old 
story of the publican who used to call out to his waiter, " A pot of ale, 
Robert," when he wished his customers to be served with the best ; 
but " A pot of ale, Bob," when they had been drinking long enough 
not to distinguish good stuff from the bad the latter order meant. One 
day after calling for Bob many times, he reluctantly, at the request of a 
visitor, tasted the ale, and found it was the best. Rushing out imme- 
diately afterwards, and calling for Bob with all his voice, he was 
answered by his wife, who said, " Why, Bob's been out these three 

John Thomas, a generic for "flunkeys," more especially footmen 
with large calves and fine bushy whiskers. 

Jolly, a Royal Marine. See HORSE MARINE. 

Jolly, a word of praise, or favourable notice ; "chuck Harry a JOLLY, 
Bill," i.e., go and praise up his goods, or buy of him, and speak well 
of the article, that the crowd standing around his stall may think it a 
good opportunity for laying out their money. This is called JOLLYING. 
" Chuck a JOLLY," lit. translated, is, throw "a shout" or ''good word." 

Jolly, to abuse or vituperate, sometimes to " bear up" or " bonnet." To 
JOLLY a man often means to give him a piece of one's mind. To 
JOLLY " for" any one is another phase of the business mentioned in the 
foregoing paragraph. 

Jomer, a sweetheart, or favourite girl. See BLOWER. 
Jonnick, right, correct, proper. Said of a person or thing. 

Jordan, a chamberpot. To throw the contents of a chamberpot over 
any one is to christen him. 

Jorum, a capacious vessel from which food is eaten, as broth or stew. 
Joskin, a countryman. 

Jossop, the syrup or juice in a fruit pie or pudding. Also, sauce or gravy. 

Jow, be off, be gone immediately. If the word Jehanum be added, it 
forms a peremptory order to go to a place unmentionable to ears 
polite. Anglo-Indian. Our phrase, " Go to Jericho," is probably a 
modification of the Jehanum business. 

Judas, a deceitful person ; JUDAS-HAIRED, red-haired, deceitful. It is 
generally believed that JUDAS IsCARlOT was red-haired. Painters 
seem to have accepted this idea, with modifications as to the exact 
amount of colour. 

Jug, a prison of any kind. Contraction of " stone j'ug." 

Julep, one of a set of drinks peculiar to America. Generally prepared 
with mint, and called a MINT-JULEP. Originally JULEP was a pleasant 


liquid, in which nauseous medicines were taken. Its literal meaning 

is rosewater, and it is derived from the Arabic. 
Jump, to seize, or rob; to "JUMP a man," to pounce upon him, and 

either rob or maltreat him ; " to JUMP a house," to rob it. 
Jumped-up, conceited, arrogant, setting full value on oneself. 
j'-imp-up-behind, to endorse an accommodation-bill. 
Juniper, gin. Derivation obvious. 
Junk, salt beef. See OLD HORSE. 
Juwaub, literally, in Hindostanee, an answer ; but in Anglo-Indian 

slang signifying a refusal. If an officer asks for leave and is refused, he 

is said to be JUWAUBED; if a gentleman unsuccessfully proposes for 

the hand of a lady, he is said to have got the JUWAUB. Anglo-Indian. 
Karibat, food, literally rice and curry ; the staple dish of both natives 

and Europeans in India. Anglo-Indian. 
Keel-hauling, a good thrashing or mauling, rough treatment, from the 

old nautical custom of punishing offenders by throwing them overboard 

with a rope attached, and hauling them up from under the ship's keel. 

See full description of this barbarous practice in Marryat's Snarleyyow. 
Keep a pig, an Oxford University phrase, which means to have a lodger. 

A man whose rooms contain two bedchambers has sometimes, when 

his college is full, to allow the use of one of them to a Freshman, who 

is called under these circumstances a PIG. The original occupier is then 

said to KEEP A PIG. 
Keep it up, to prolong a debauch, or the occasion of a rejoicing, a 

metaphor drawn from the game of shuttlecock. People suffering from 

the effects of drink are said to have been KEEPING IT UP. Grose. 
Kelter, coin, money. Probably from GELT. 
Ken, a house. Ancient cant. KHAN, Gipsy and Oriental, 

*,* All slang and cant words which end in KEN, such as SPIELKEN, 

SPINIKEN, or BOOZINGKEN, refer to houses, and are mainly of Gipsy 

Kennedy, a poker ; to " give KENNEDY" is to strike or kill with a 

poker. A St. Giles's term, so given from a man of that name being 

killed by a poker. 

Kent rag, or CLOUT, a cotton handkerchief. 
Kervorten, a Cockneyism for QUARTERN or quarter-pint measure. 

" KERVORTEN and three houts," a quartern of liquor and glasses, each 

holding a third of the quantity. 
Ketch, or JACK KETCH, the popular name for a public hangman ; derived 

from a person of that name who officiated in the reign of Charles II. 

See Macaulay's History of England. 
Kettle of fish, a mess or muddle of any kind. As, " Here's a pretty 


Key of the street, an imaginary instrument said to be possessed by 

any one locked out of doors. 
Kibosh, nonsense, stuff, humbug; "it's all KIBOSH," i.e., palaver or 

nonsense ; to " put on the KIBOSH," to run down, slander, degrade, 


&c. To put the KIBOSH on anything is, latterly, to put an effectual 
end or stop to it. 

Kick, a moment ; " I'll be there in a KICK," i.e., in a moment. 

Kick, a pocket ; Gaelic, CUACH, a bowl, a nest ; Scotch, QUAIGH. 

Kick, a sixpence ; " two and a KICK," two shillings and sixpence. 

Kick the bucket, to die. Norfolk. According to Forby, a metaphor 
taken from the descent of a well or mine, which is of course absurd. 
The Rev. E. S. Taylor supplies the following note from his MS. addi- 
tions to the work of the East-Anglian lexicographer : 

"The allusion is to the way in which a slaughtered pig is hung up -viz., by passing 
the ends of a bent piece of wood behind the tendons of the hind legs, and so 
suspending it to a hook in abeam above. This piece of wood is locally termed 
a BUCKET, and so by a coarse metaphor the phrase came to signify to die." 

Another correspondent says the real signification of this phrase is to 
commit suicide by hanging, from a method planned and carried out by 
an ostler at an inn on the Great North Road. Standing on a bucket, 
he tied himself up to a beam in the stable ; he then KICKED THE 
BUCKET away from under his feet, and in a few seconds was dead. 
The natives of the West Indies have converted the expression into 
" kickeraboo." 

Kick over the traces, to be over-extravagant. Any one who has 
come to grief by fast living is said to have KICKED OVER THE TRACES. 

Kick up, a noise or disturbance. 

Kick up, " to KICK UP a row," to create a tumult. 

Kickeraboo, dead. A West Indian negro's phrase. See KICK THE 
BUCKET, of which phrase it is a corruption. 

Kickseys, or KICKSIES, trousers. 

Kickshaws, trifles ; made, or French dishes not English or substan- 
tial. Anything of a fancy description now. Corruption of the French 


Kicksy, troublesome, disagreeable. German, KECK, bold. 

Kid, an infant, or child. From the German kind; or possibly from the 
name for the young of a goat. Also, a shallow dish in which sailors 
receive their portions of food. 

Kid, to joke, to quiz, to hoax anybody. "No KID, now?" is a question 
often asked by a man who thinks he is being hoaxed. 

Kidden, or KIDKEN, a low lodging-house for boys. 

Kiddier, a pork-butcher. 

Kiddily, fashionably or showily ; " KIDDILY togg'd," showily dressed. 

Kiddleywink, a small shop where are retailed the commodities of a 
village store. Originally KIDDLE-A-WINK, from the offer made, with a 
wink, to give you something out of the kettle or kiddle. In the west 
country an alehouse. Also, a woman of unsteady habits. 

Kiddy, a man, or boy. Formerly a low thief. 

Kiddyish, frolicsome, jovial. 

" Think on the KIDDYISH spree we had on such a day." 

Katuiall's Dittf, ifj*. 


Kidment, humbug, coarse chaff or jocularity. 

Kidnapper, originally one who stole children. Now applied without 

reference to the age or sex of those stolen. From " kid, a child, and 

"nab" (corrupted to " nap"), to steal, or seize. 
Kidney, "of that KIDNEY," of such a stamp; "strange KIDNEY," odd 

humour ; "two of a KIDNEY," two persons of a sort, or as like as two 

peas, i.e., resembling each other like two kidneys in a bunch. Old. 

" Attempt to put their hair out of KIDNEY." Terra Filius, 1763: 
Kid- on, to entice or incite a person to the perpetration of an act 
Kidsman, one who trains boys to thieve and pick pockets successfully. 
Kilkenny cat, a popular simile for a voracious or desperate animal or 

person, from the story of the two cats in that county, who are said to 

have fought and bitten each other until a small portion of the tail oi 

one of them alone remained. 

Killing, bewitching, fascinating. The term is akin to the phrase 
" dressing to death." 

Kilt, an Irishism for badly beaten, but by no means equivalent with killed. 

KimbO, or A-KIMBO, holding the arms in a bent position from the body, 
and resting the hands upon the hips, in a bullying attitude. Said to 
be from A SCHIMBO, bandy-legged, crooked, Italian; but more pro- 
bably from KIMBAW, the old cant for beating or bullying. See Grose. 
Celtic, CAM, crooked. 

Kiminer, a gossip, an acquaintance, same as CUMMER. Scotck. 
" What's a' the steer, KIMMER ?" 

Kinchin, a child. Old Cant. From the German diminutive, KINDCHEH, 

a baby. 
Kinchin COVe, a man who robs children ; a little man. Ancient Cant. 

Kincob, uniform, fine clothes, richly embroidered dresses. Really, cloth 
of gold or silver. Anglo-Indian. 

Kingsman, a handkerchief with yellow patterns upon a green ground, 
the favourite coloured neckerchief of the costermongers. The women 
sometimes wear KINGSMAN kerchiefs thrown over their shoulders. A 
coster will often imagine his caste, or position, is at stake, if his 
KINGSMAN is not of the most approved pattern. When he fights, his 
KINGSMAN is tied around his waist as a belt. This partiality for a 
peculiar-coloured neckcloth is part of the fondness for gaudy colours 
which at all times and in all countries has been shown by the unculti- 
vated. A strange similarity of ta=>te for certain colours exists amongst 
the Hindoos, Gipsies, and London lower classes. Red and yellow 
(or orange) are the great favourites, and in these hues the Hindoo 
selects his turban and his robe ; the gipsy his breeches, and his wife 
her shawl or gown ; and the costermonger, his plush waistcoat and 
favourite KINGSMAN. Among either class, when a fight takes place, 
the greatest regard is paid to the favourite coloured article of dress. 
The Hindoo lays aside his turban, the gipsy folds up his fancy 
breeches or coat, whilst the pugilistic costermonger of Covent Garden 


or Billingsgate removes his favourite neckerchief to a part of his body, 
by the rules of the " ring," comparatively out of danger. 

King's pictures (now, of course, QUEEN'S PICTURES), money. 

Kisky, drunk, fuddled. 

Kiss-curl, a small curl twisted on the temple. See BOWCATCHER. 

Kisser, the mouth. Pugilistic term, 

Kissing-crust, the soft crust which marks where one loaf has beea 

broken from another. 
Kiss-me-quick, the name given to the very small bonnets which have 

of late years become fashionable. 
Kit, a person's baggage. Also, a collection of anything, "the whole KIT 

of 'em," the entire lot. Anglo-Saxon, KYTH. North. 
Kite, see FLY THE KITE. 

Kitmegur, an under-butler, a footman. Anglo-Indian. 
Kitna, how much? Anglo-Indian. 
Knacker, an old horse ; a horse-slaughterer. Originally Gloucestershire. 

but now general. 

Knap, i.q.y NAP, to break. Old English, but nearly obsolete. See Ps. 
xlvi. 9 (Prayer-book version), " He breaketh the bow, and KNAPPETH 
the spear in sunder ;" probably sibilated into " snap." 

Knap, to receive, to take. Generally applied to the receipt of punish- 
ments ; " oh, my ! wont he just KNAP it when he gets home I" 

Knap, to steal. Prison Cant. 

Knapping-jigger, a turn pike gate; "todubattheKNAPPiNG-jiGGER," 
to pay money at the turnpike. 

Knark, a hard-hearted or savage person. The word is now usually 
spelt NARK, and is applied to the lowest class of informers. 

Knife, " to KNIFE a person," to stab ; an un-English custom, but a very 

common expression. 
Knife-board, the seat running along the roof of an omnibus. 

"On 'busses' KNIFEBOARDS stretch'd, 
The City clerks all tongue-protruded lay." 

A Summer Idyll, by Arthur Smith. 

Knife it, "cut it," cease, stop, don't proceed. 

Knight, a common and ironical prefix to a man's calling thus, " KNIGHT 

of the whip," a coachman ; " KNIGHT of the thimble," a tailor. 
Knobstick, a non-society workman. One who takes work under price. 
Knock about the bub, to hand or pass about the drink. BUB is a 

.very old cant term for drink. 
Knock-down, or KNOCK-ME-DOWN, strong ale. 
Knocked-up, tired, jaded, used up, done for. In the United States, 

amongst females, the phrase is equivalent to being enceinte, so that 

Englishmen often unconsciously commit themselves when amongst our 

Yankee cousins. 


Knock-'em-downs, the game of skittles. 

Knocker, " up to the KNOCKER," means finely or showily dressed, in 
the height of fashion ; proficient, equal to the task. 

Knocker-face, an ugly face, i.e., like an old-fashioned door-knocker. 

Knock-in, the game of loo. 

Knocking-in, coming into college after time. A habit of KNOCKING-IN 
late generally leads to some unpleasantness. Oxford University. 

Knocking-OUt. All visitors, on leaving a college after time, have to 
state in whose rooms they have been, that his gate-bill may be scored 
up for them. When a rackety party takes place, the visitors, or ' ' out 
college men," are generally supplied with a list of the names of the 
quietest men in college, so that the whereabouts of the party may not 
be betrayed. Oxford University. 

Knock-it-down, to show, in the "free and easy" style, approval of a 
song or toast, by hammering with pot or glass on the table. 

Knock off, to give over, or abandon. A saying used by workmen in 
reference to dinner or other meal times, for upwards of two centuries. 

Knock Out, in racing parlance, to drive out of the quotations ; as a 
KNOCKED-OUT favourite. Also to make bankrupt ; as a KNOCKED- 
OUT backer or bookmaker. When a man cannot meet his engage- 
ments on the turf, he is said to be KNOCKED OUT. 

Knock-outs, or KNOCK-INS, disreputable persons who visit auction 
rooms and unite to purchase the articles at their own prices. One of 
their number is instructed to buy for the rest, and after a few small 
bids as blinds to the auctioneer and bystanders, the lot is knocked 
down to the KNOCK-OUT bidders, at a nominal price the competition 
to result from an auction being thus frustrated and set aside. At the 
conclusion of the sale the goods are paid for, and carried to a neigh- 
bouring public-house, where they are re-sold or KNOCKED-OUT among 
the confederates, and the difference between the first purchase and the 
second or tap-room KNOCK-OUT is divided amongst the gang. As 
generally happens with ill-gotten gains, the money soon finds its way 
to the landlord's pocket, and the KNOCK-OUT is rewarded with a red 
nose and a bloated face. Cunning tradesmen join the KNOCK-OUTS 
when an opportunity for money-making presents itself. The lowest 
description of KNOCK-OUTS, fellows with more tongue than capital, are 
termed BABES. Within the past few years a few respectable auctioneers, 
assisted much by one or two just and admirable magisterial decisions, 
have succeeded in considerably limiting the efforts of the KNOCK-OUT 

Knock-under, to submit. 

Knowing, sharp, shrewd, artful ; "a KNOWING codger," or "a KNOW* 
ING blade," one who can take you in, or cheat you, in any transaction 
you may have with him. It implies also deep cunning and foresight, 
and generally signifies dishonesty. 

" Who, on a spree with black-eyed Sal, his blowen, 
So *well, so prime! to nutty, and to KNOWING ?" Don 


KNOW, in ^this sense, enters into several slang phrases. "I KNOW 
something," expresses that I am not to be taken in by any shallow 
device. " He KNOWS a thing or two," i.e., he is a cunning fellow. 

Knowledge-box, the head. Pugilistic. 

Knuckle, to fight with fists, to pommel. 

Knuckle-duster, a large, heavy, or over-gaudy ring; a ring which 
attracts attention from its size. 

Knuckle-duster, an iron or brass instrument which covers the 
knuckles so as to protect them from injury when striking a blow, add- 
ing force to it at the same time. .Sometimes a KNUCKLE-DUSTER has 
knobs or points projecting, so as to mutilate and disfigure the person 
struck. This brutal invention is American, but has been made familiar 

Knuckle to, or KNUCKLE UNDER, to yield or submit. 
Knuller, old term for a chimney-sweep, who so: vited jobs by ringing a 
bell. From the Saxon, CNYLLAN, to knell, c; sound a bell. See 


Kootee, a house. Anglo-Indian. 

Kotoo, to bow down before, to cringe, to flatter. From a Chinese ceremony. 

Kubber, news. Anglo-Indian. 

Kudos, praise ; KUDIZED, praised. Greek, KJ/&>C. University. 

Kye, eighteenpence. 

Kypsey, a basket A term generally used by gipsies. 

La ! a euphuistic rendering of LORD ! common amongst females and very 
p-ecise persons ; imagined by many to be a conniption of LOOK ! but 
this is a mistake. Sometimes pronounced LAW, or LAWKS. 

Lac, one hundred thousand. Anglo-Indian. 

Laced, strengthened with ardent spirits. Tea or coffee in which brandy 
is poured is said to be LACED. 

Lacing, a beating. From the phrase, " I'll LACE your jacket. "- 
L 'Estrange. Perhaps to give a beating with a lace or lash. Perhaps, 
also, a figurative phrase for ornamenting the article in question with 

Ladder, "can't see a hole in a LADDER," said of any one who is intoxi- 
cated. It was once said that a man was never properly drunk until he 
could not lie down without holding, could not see a hole through a 
LADDER, or went to the pump to light his pipe. 

Ladies' mile, that part of Hyde Park where the feminine beauty, rank, 

and fashion most do congregate during the airing hours of the London 


Lag, a returned transport, or ticket-of-leave convict. 
Lag to void urine. Ancient Cant. In modern slang to transport, as 

regards bearing witness, and not in reference to the action of judge or 



Lagged, imprisoned, apprehended, or transported for a crime. From the 
Old Norse, LAGDA, "laid," laid by the leg. 

Xiagger, a sailor. Also, one who gives evidence ; an informer. 

Lagging gage, a chamber-pot. Ancient Cant. 

Lambasting, a beating. Perhaps LUMB-BASTING, from the lumbar- 

Lamb's WOOl, spiced ale, of which the butler at Brasenose every Shrove 
Tuesday supplies as much as is required at Hall, with a copy of verses 
on the subject, generally written by a Brasenose man. One of these 
poems began : 

Antiquum et vetus est \^J^ Nas ] dicere laudes. 

Oxford University. 

LAMB'S WOOL is also a hot drink, well known to the community for 
centuries. Supposed by some to be derived from Lammas, at which 
time it was drunk, and by others to be derived from the similarity be- 
tween the foam of the drink and the white wool obtained from lambs. 

Lame duck, a stockjobber who speculates beyond his capital, and 
cannot pay his losses. Upon retiring from the Exchange he is said to 
" waddle out of the Alley." 

Lamming, a beating. Old English, LAM ; used by Beaumont and 
Fletcher. Not as Sir Walter Scott supposed, from one Dr. Lamb, 
but from the Old Norse, LAM, the hand ; also, Gaelic. 

Lammy, a blanket. 

Land-lubber, sea term for "a landsman." See LOAFER, 

Land-shark, a sailor's definition of a lawyer. 

Lane, a familiar term for Drury Lane Theatre, just as Covent Garden 
Theatre is constantly spoken of as "the Garden." 

Lap, liquor, drink. LAP is the term invariably used in the ballet girls' 
dressing-room for gin. 

Lap, one circuit of a pedestrian enclosure. In running a race of any 
distance one man is said to LAP another when he is one entire 
circuit in front. 

Lap. LAP THE GUTTER, to get beastly and helplessly drunk. LAP 
means to drink. LAP THE GATTER, to drink up the beer; a "rare 
LAPPER," a hard drinker. 

Lark, a frolic, a joke; "let's have a jolly good LARK," let us have a 
piece of fun. Anglo-Saxon, LAC, sport ; but more probably from the 
nautical term SKYLARKING, i.e., mounting to the highest yards and 
sliding down the ropes for amusement, which is allowed on certain 

Lark, to sport boisterously, to show a disposition for "going on the 

Larrence, an imaginary being, supposed by the Scottish peasantry to 
have power over indolent persons. Hence laziness is often called 


Larrup, to beat or thrash. 


Larruping, a good beating or hiding. Irish. 

JLashins, large quantities; as, "LASHINS of whisky." An Irishism in 

common use. 
Latclipan, the lower lip properly a dripping-pan ; " to hang one's 

LATCHPAN," to pout, be sulky. Norfolk. 

Lavender, "to be laid up in LAVENDER;" to be in pawn; to be 
out of the way for an especial purpose. From the practice among 
housewives of placing LAVENDER in drawers in which linen and clothes 
are to be kept for any period. 

Law, " to give LAW to an animal" is a sporting term signifying to give 
the hare or stag a chance of escaping, by not setting on the hounds 
till the quarry has run some distance. Also, used for giving any 
one a chance of succeeding in a difficult undertaking by allowing him 
so much grace or preliminary notice. 

Lay, a pursuit or practice, a dodge. Term in this sense much used by 

Lay, in wagering, to bet against a man or animal. Betters are divided 
in racing slang into layers and takers ; they are otherwise known as 
bookmakers and backers. 

Lay, some, a piece. " Tip me a LAY of pannum," *>., give me a slice *C 
bread. North. 

Lay, to watch ; " on the LAY," on the look-out. Shakspeare. 

Lay down the knife and fork, to die. Compare PEGGING-OUT, 
HOPPING THE TWIG, and similar flippancies. 

Lead, or FRIENDLY LEAD, a gathering at a low public-house, for the 
purpose of assisting some one who is " in trouble" (in these cases 
trouble always means imprisonment), who has just "come out of 
trouble," or who is in want of a " mouthpiece." A LEAD is different 
from a raffle, inasmuch as no article is put up or thrown for, but in the 
course of the evening some friend of the troubled one LEADS OFF by 
putting a certain sum in a plate, and the remainder of the party follow 
the LEAD with whatever they can spare. Sometimes people pay as 
they enter *he room, but this does not alter the title or character of the 
meeting. In every other respect a LEAD is similar to a raffle ; songs, 
dances, drinking, and a general desire to increase the bastardy averages 
being the most conspicuous features of the entertainment. Irish LEADS 
and raffles are characterized by less vice and more quarrelling than 
those of the lower orders of English people. 

Leary, flash, knowing, artful, sly. 

Leary bloke, a clever or artful person. 

Leather, to beat or thrash. Probably from allusion to the skin, which is 
often called LEATHER. Some think the term is from the LEATHER 
belts worn by soldiers, which are often used as weapons in street rows 
Most likely from there being "nothing like LEATHER" with which 
to administer a thrashing. 

Leathern conveniency, a carriage. A Quaker being reprimanded 
by the Society of Friends for keeping a carriage, " contrary to the 


ancient testimonies," said, " it is not a carriage I keep, but merely a 
LEATHERN-CONVENIENCY." See under SIMON PURE, in the Introduc- 

Leaving shop, or DOLLY SHOP, an unlicensed house where goods are 
taken into pawn at exorbitant rates of interest. 

Led. captain, a fashionable spunger, a " swell" who by artifice ingra- 
tiates himself into the favours of the master of the house, and lives at 
his table. Probably from the fact that a real captain leads, but that 
a sham one is led to the dinner-table. 

Leer, empty. Oxfordshire. Pure German, as is nearly so the next word. 

Leer, print, newspaper. German, LEHREN, to instruct ; hence Old Eng- 
lish, LERE, " spelt in the LEER." See SPELL. Old Cant. 

Leg, a part of a game. In some old games there are so many LEGS to the 
chalk, and so many chalks to the game. Sometimes the LEGS are 
called chalks, and the chalks LEGS one word is as good as another, 
provided an agreement is made beforehand. 

Leg, or BLACKLEG, a disreputable sporting character and racecourse 
habitue" ; that is, one who is disreputable among sporting men. 

Leg-and-leg, the state of a game when each player has won a LEG. In 
Ireland a LEG is termed a horse, LEG-AND-LEG being there termed 
" horse-and- horse." 

Leg bail, the bail or security given by absence. To give LEG BAIL is to 
run away. 

Leg it, to run ; "to give a LEG," to assist, as when one mounts a horse ; 
"making a LEG, a countryman's bow, projecting the LEG from 
behind as a balance to the head bent forward. Shakspeare. 

Leg-of-mutton, humorous street term for a sheep's trotter, or foot. 

Leg of mutton fist, a large, muscular or bony hand. 

Length, forty-two lines of a dramatic composition. Theatrical. 
Length, six months' imprisonment. See STRETCH. 

Let alone, an expression which signifies " much less" as used in com- 
parative statement or argument. " I cannot afford five shillings, LET 
ALONE five pounds." Barham, in one of the Ingoldsby Legends, says : 

" I have not had, this livelong day, one drop to cheer my heart, 
Nor brown to buy a bit of bread with LET ALONE a tart." 

Let drive, to strike at, or attack with vigour. 

Let in, to cheat or victimize. " He let me in heavily." 

Let on, to give an intimation of having some knowledge of a subject 

Ramsay employs the phrase in the Gentle Shepherd. Common in 

Let the cat out, or LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG, a common phrase, 

which implies that a secret is to be or has been let out. 
Letty, a bed. Italian, LETTO. Lingua Franca. 
Levanter, a card-sharper, or defaulting gambler. It was formerly th* 

custom to give out to the creditors, when a person was in pecuniary 

difficulties, and it was convenient for him to keep away, that he wa 


gone to the East, or the LEVANT ; hence, when one loses a bet, and 
decamps without settling, he is said to LEVANT. The LEVANT was 
also a notorious place for queer customers, who would do anything 
rather than pay. Its reputation is not particularly odorous even now. 

Ii6Vy, a shilling. Liverpool. Among labourers a LEVY is a sum obtained 
before it is due, something to keep a man going till Saturday-night 
comes, or his task is finished. 

Liberty, ground let in parts of Yorkshire for shooting purposes. 

Lick, a blow; LICKING, a beating; "to put in big LICKS," a curious 
and common phrase, meaning that great exertions are being made. 
Dryden ; North. 

Lick, to excel, or overcome ; " if you ain't sharp, he'll LICK you," i.e., be 
finished first. Signifies, also, to whip, chastise, or conquer. Ancient 
cant, LYCKE. Welsh, LLACHIO, to strike. 

Lickspittle, a coarse but singularly expressive term for a parasite, who 
puts up with indignities for the sake of advantages. 

Lifer, a convict who is sentenced to imprisonment for life. 

Lift, to steal, pick pockets ; " there's a clock been LIFTED," said when a 
watch has been stolen. The word is as old as the Border forays, and 
is used by Shakspeare. SHOPLIFTER is a recognised term. Old Gothic, 
LLIFAN, to steal ; Lower Rhenish, LOFTEN. 

Lig, a lie, a falsehood. Lancashire. In old ballads the word "lie" is 
often spelt " LIG." In old Saxon, LIG is to lie, but to lie as in a bed. 

Light, credit, trust ; " to get a LIGHT at a house" is to get credit When 
a man's credit is stopped, his LIGHT is said to be put out. LIGHT also 
means life. " I'll put your LIGHT out" is a murderous threat 

Light Bob, a light infantry soldier. Military. 

Light Feeder, a silver spoon. 

Tldghtning, gin ; " flash o' LIGHTNING," a glass of gin. 

Lights, a worthless piece of meat ; applied metaphorically to a fool, a 
soft or stupid person. 

Lights, the eyes. Also, the lungs ; animals' lungs are always so called. 

Lil, a book, generally a pocket-book. Gipsy. 

Lily Benjamin, a great white coat. See BENJAMIN. 

Limb, a troublesome or precocious child. 

Limb of the law, a lawyer, or clerk articled to that profession. 

Limbo, a prison, from LIMBUS or LIMBUS PATRUM, a mediaeval theo- 
logical term for purgatory. The Catholic Church teaches that LIMBO 
was that part of hell where holy people who died before the Redemption 
were kept. 

Line, a hoax, a fool-trap ; as, " to get him in a LINE," i.e., to get some 
sport out of him. 

Zone, calling, trade, profession ; " what idNK are you in ?" " the building 



Liner, a casual reporter, paid by the line. Diminutive of " penny-a- 

Lingo, talk, or language. Slang is termed LINGO amongst the lower 
orders. Italian, LINGUA. Lingua Franca. 

Lint-Scraper, a young surgeon. Thackeray, in Lovel the Widower, 
uses the phrase, and gives, also, the words " ^Esculapius," " Pestle- 
grinder," and " Vaccinator," for the same character. 

Lionesses, ladies visiting an Oxford ma^ especially at " Commemora- 
tion," which is the chief time for receiving feminine visitors at the 

Lion-hunter, one who hunts up, and has a devout veneration for, small 
celebrities. Mrs. Leo Hunter, in Pickwick, is a splendid specimen of 
this unpleasant creature. 

Lionize, to make much of any visitor with small or moderate claims to 
distinction ; to conduct a stranger round the principal objects of attrac- 
tion in a place ; to act as cicerone. 

Lions, notabilities, either persons or sights worthy of inspection ; an 
expression dating from the times when the royal lions at the Towe^ 
before the existence of Zoological Gardens and travelling menageries, 
were a London wonder, to visit which country cousins and strangers 
of eminence were constantly taken. Visitors taken round at Cambridge 
to see the sights are, or were, called LIONS. The origin of the Tower 
collection was the three leopards sent by the Emperor Frederic to 
Henry III., as a living illustration of the royal arms of England. In 
the roll of John de Cravebeadell, constable of the Tower (B. M. Top. 
Collections, iii. p. 153), is a charge of yl. per day "in support of the 
leopard of our lord the king." Edward III., when Prince of Wales, 
appears to have taken great interest in the animals ; and after he 
became king, there was not only the old leopard, but "one lion, one 
lioness, and two cat-lions, " says Stowe, ' ' in the said Tower, com- 
mitted to the custody of Robert, son of John Bowre." The -menagerie 
was only abolished in 1834 ; and the practice was to allow any person 
to enter gratis who brought with him a little dog to be thrown to the 
lions ! Dr. Doran's Princes of Wales. 

Lip, talk, bounce, impudence ; " come, none o' yer LIP !" 

Iiip, to sing ; " LIP us a chant," sing a song. 

Liquor, or LIQUOR up, to drink drams. Americanism. In LIQUOR, 
tipsy, or drunk. 

Little go, the old term for the examination now called SMALLS. 

Little Snakes-man, a little thief, who is generally passed through a 
small aperture to open a door and let in the rest of the gang. 

Liverpool Irishman, any man born in Liverpool of Irish parents. 

Liverpudlian, a native of Liverpool. 

Live-stock, vermin of the insect kind, especially of that more than 
usually unpleasant kind found on tramps, &c. 


Loafer, a lazy vagabond. Generally considered an Americanism. LOPER, 
or LOAFER, however, was in general use as a cant term in the early 
part of the last century. LANDLOPER was a vagabond who begged in 
the attire of a sailor ; and the sea-phrase, LAND.LUBBER, was doubtless 

Leaver, money. See LOUR. Lingua Franca. 
Lob, a till, or money-drawer. 

Lob-sneaking, stealing money from tills ; occasionally stealing tills 
and all. 

Lobb, the head. Pugilistic. 

Loblolly, gruel. Old: used by Mirkham as a sea- term for grit gruel, 
or hasty pudding. 

Loblolly boy, a derisive term for a surgeon's mate in the navy. 

" LOB-LOLLY-BOY is a person who on board of a man-of-war attends the surgeon 
and his mates, and one who knows just as much of the business of a seaman at 
the author of this poem." The Patent, a Poem, 410, 1776. 

Lobs ! schoolboys' signal on the master's approach. Also, an assistant 

watcher, an under gamekeeper. 
LobS, words, talk. Gipsy. 

LobscOUSe, a dish made of potatoes, meat, and biscuits, boiled together. 
Lobster, a soldier. A policeman, from the colour of his coat, is styled s.u 

unboiled, or raw LOBSTER. 
Lobster -box, a barrack, or military station. 
Loggerheads, " to come to LOGGERHEADS," to come to blows. 
Logie, theatrical jewellery, made mostly of tin. 
Loll, to lie about lazily. " He would LOLL upon the handle of the door, ' 

said of an incorrigibly lazy fellow. 
Lolly, the head. See LOBB. Pugilistic. 
London ordinary, the beach at Brighton, where the " eight-hours-at 

the-sea-side" excursionists dine in the open-air. 
Long firm, a gang of swindlers who obtain goods by false pretences. 

They generally advertise or answer advertisements. The word LONG is 

supposed to be from a playful allusion made by one of the firm to the 

length of their credit. 

Long-ghost, a tall, thin, awkward person. Sometimes called "lamp- 

Long-headed, far-seeing, clever, calculating. 
Long -hundred, aBillingsgate expression for 120 fresh herrings, or other 

small fish, the long-hundred being six score. 
Long-Odds, the odds which denote that the man or animal laid against 

has, or is supposed to have, little or no chance. 
Long-shore butcher, a coast-guardsman. Sea. All people who get 

their livings by the de of the Thames below bridge are called LONG. 

SHORE folk. 



Long-tailed beggar, a cat. The tale that hangs thereby runs thus : 
A boy, during his first very short voyage to sea, had become so 
entirely a seaman, that on his return he had forgotten the name of the 
cat, and was obliged, pointing to puss, to ask his mother "what she 
called that 'ere LONG-TAILKD BEGGAR ?" Accordingly, sailors, when 
they hear a freshwater tar discoursing too largely on nautical matters, 
are very apt to say, " But how, mate, about that 'ere LONG-TAILED 


Long-tailed-one, a bank-note or "flimsy" for a large amount. 

Long-tails, among shooters, are pheasants ; among coursers and dog- 
fanciers they are greyhounds. 

Longs, the latrine at Brasenose, so called because built by LADY LONG. 
Oxford University. 

LongS-and-shorts, cards made for cheating. 

Looking-glass, a facetious synonym for a pot de chambre. This is 
very old. The term arose from the fact that in ancient times this 
utensil was the object of very frequent examination by the medical 
fraternity. There is an old story of a lady who called at an inn, and 
called for a LOOKING-GLASS to arrange her hair, and who was pre- 
sented with a chamber utensil. 

Loony, a silly fellow, a natural. Corruption of LOONEY TICK (lunatic). 
Sometimes corrupted to LOOBY. 


Loose-box, a brougham or other vehicle kept for the use of a dame ce 
compagnie. A more vulgar appellation is "mot-cart," the con- 
temptuous sobriquet applied by the envious mob to a one-horse 
covered carriage. 

Loose-box, a stable in which a horse is not tethered, but remains loose. 

Loot, swag or plunder ; also used as a verb. The word came much into 
vogue during the latest Chinese campaign. 

Lope, this old form of leap is often heard in the streets. To LOPE is also 
to steal. German, LAUFEN. 

Lop-sided, uneven, one side larger than the other. See Jacob Faithful. 

Lord, a humpbacked man. Set MY LORD. 

Lord, " drunk as a LORD," a common saying, probably referring to the 
facilities a man of fortune has for such a gratification ; perhaps a sly 
sarcasm at the supposed habits of the aristocracy. This phrase had its 
origin in the old hard drinking days, when it was almost compulsory 
on a man of fashion to get drunk regularly after dinner. 

Lord-may or's-fool, an imaginary personage who likes everything that 
is good, and plenty of it. 

Lothario a " gay" deceiver ; generally a heartless, brainless villain. 

Loud, flashy, showy, as applied to dress or manner. See BAGS. 

LOUT or LOWR, money ; "gammy LOWR," bad money. From the Walk- 
ch'ian Gipsy word, LOWE, coined money. Possibly connected with the 
French, LOUER, to hire. Ancient Cant and Gipsy. 


Louse-trap, a small-tooth comb. Old Cant. See CATCH-'EM-ALIVE. 

Love, at billiards, racket.*, and many other games, nothing five points to 
none would be "five LOVE," a LOVE game being when one player does 
not score at all. The term is also used at whist, "six LOVE, " four 
LOVE," when one side has marked up six, four, or any other number, 
and the other none. A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for July, 
1780, derives it either from LUFF, an old Scotch word for the hand, or 
from the Dutch, LOEF, the LOOF, weather-gauge (Sewell's Dutch Dic- 
tionary, 410, 1754) ; but it more probably, from the sense of the 
following, denotes something done without reciprocity. 

Love, "to do a thing for LOVE," i.e., for nothing. A man is said to marry 
for LOVE when he gets nothing with his wife ; and an Irishman, with 
the bitterest animosity against his antagonist, will fight him for LOVE, 
i.e., for the mere satisfaction of beating him, and not for a stake. 

Loveage, tap droppings, a mixture of stale spirits, sweetened and sold to 
habitual dram-drinkers, principally females. Called also "alls." 

Low-water, but little money in pocket, when the finances are at a low 

Lubber, a clown, or fool. Ancient Cant, LUBBARB. Among seamen 
an awkward fellow, a landsman. 

Lubber's hole, an aperture in the maintop of a ship, by which a timid 
climber may avoid the difficulties of the " futtock shrouds ;" hence as 
a sea-term the LUBBER'S HOLE represents any cowardly way of evading 

Luck, "down on one's LUCK," wanting money, or in difficulty. 
Lucky, " to cut one's LUCKY," to go away quickly. See STRIKE. 

Ludlam's dog. An indolent, inactive person is often said to be " as lazy 
as LUDLAM'S DOG, which leaned its head against the wall to bark." 
Sailors say " as lazy as Joe the Marine, who laid down his musket to 

Lug, " my togs are in LUG," i.e., in pawn. 

Lug, to pull, or slake thirst. Old. 

Lug chovey, a pawnbroker's shop. 

Luke, nothing. North Country Cant. 

Lully, a shirt. 

Lully prigger, a rogue who steals wet clothes hung on lines to dry. 

Lumber, to pawn or pledge. Probably from LOMBARD. 

Lumbered, pawned ; sometimes imprisoned. 

Lummy, jolly, first-rate. 

Lump, anything exceptionally large, "as a LUMP of a man," "a great 
LUMP of a fellow," &c. 

Lump, the workhouse ; also called the Pan. 

Lump it, to dislike it ; "if you don't like it, you may LUMP IT;" some- 
times varied to, "if you don't like it, you may do the other thing." 


Probably from the fact that, in bulk or in lump, the good has to be 
taken with the bad. What you don't like must be reckoned with the 
LUMP. To LUMP IT is also to take off at a draught, as medicine or a 
dram. " He LUMPED IT down at once." 

Lump the lighter, to be transported. 

Lump work, work contracted for, or taken by the LUMP. 

Lumper, a contractor. On the river more especially a person who con- 
tracts to deliver a ship laden with timber. 

Lumper, a low thief who haunts wharves and docks, and robs vessels , 
also a person who sells old goods as new. 

Lumpy, intoxicated. Also used to signify enceinte. 

Luuan, a girl. Gipsy. 

Lurch, a term at the game of cribbage. A is said to LURCH B when 
the former attains the end, or sixty-first hole, of the board before the 
latter has pegged his thirty-first hole ; or, in more familiar words, 
before B has turned the corner. A LURCH sometimes, and then only 
by agreement, counts as a double game or rub. 

Lurk, a sham, swindle, or representation of feigned distress. An impo- 
sition of any kind is a LURK. 
Lurker, an impostor who travels the country with false certificates of 

fires, shipwrecks, c. Also, termed a SILVER BEGGAR, which see. 
Lush, intoxicating drinks of all kinds, but generally used for beer. It is 

generally allowed, as has been stated, that LUSH and its derivatives 

claim Lushington, the brewer, as sponsor. 
Lush, to drink, or get drunk. 
Lush-crib, a public-house. 
Lushington, a drunkard, or one who continually soaks himself with 

lush. Some years since there was a LUSHINGTON CLUB in Bow 

Street, Covent Garden. 
Lushy, intoxicated. Johnson says, " opposite to pale," so red with drink. 

He must, however, have been wrong, as the foregoing derivation shows. 
Lylo, come hither. Anglo-Chinese. 
Lynch-law, summary punishment. From an American judge famous 

for hanging first and trying afterwards. 
Mab, a cab, or hackney-coach. 

Mace, to sponge, swindle, or beg, in a polite way : " give it him (a shop- 
keeper) on the MACE," i.e., obtain goods on credit and never pay for 

them ; also termed " striking the MACE." 
Mace, to welsh, to obtain money without any expectation of being able to 

pay or intention of paying. 
Maceman, or MACER, a welcher, magsman, or general swindler; ft 

Madza, half. Italian, MEZZA. This word enters into combination with 

various cant phrases, mainly taken from the Lingua Franca, as MAUZA 
, half-a-crown, two-and-sixpence ; MADZA SALTKE, a halfpenny 


[see SALTEE] ; MADZA POONA, half-a-sovereign ; MADZA ROUND THE 

BULL, half a pound of steak, &c. This word is, in street phraseology, 

invariably pronounced MEDZER. 
Mag, a halfpenny. Ancient Cant, MAKE. MEGS were formerly guineas. 

B. M. Carew. MAKE, the old form, is still used by schoolboys in 

Scotland. ' ' Not a blessed MAG 1" would be the phrase of a cadger 

down on his luck to express his penniless state. 
Mag, literary and printers' slang for magazine. 
Mag, to talk ; hence MAGPIE. To MAG in thieves' slang is to talk well 

and persuasively. 

Maggoty, fanciful, fidgety. Whims and fancies were formerly termed 
MAGGOTS, from the popular belief that a maggot in the brain was the 
cause of any odd notion or caprice a person might exhibit. Deer are 
sometimes found to have maggots in their brains, which, perhaps, 
accounts for the origin of the term. 

Magsman, a street swindler, who watches for countrymen and " gullible" 
persons, and persuades them out of their possessions. MAGSMEN are 
wonderful actors. Their work is done in broad daylight, without any 
stage accessories ; and often a wink, a look, or a slip of the tongue 
would betray their confederacy. Their ability and perseverance are 
truly worthy of a better cause. MAGSMEN are very often men of supe- 
rior education. Those who "work" the tidal trains and boats are often 
faultlessly dressed and highly accomplished. 

Makchocn, a merchant. Chinese pronunciation of the English word. 
Anglo- Chinese. 

Mahogany, "to have one's feet under another man's MAHOGANY," to 
sit at his table, be supported on other than one's own resources ; 
" amputate your MAHOGANY," i.e. t go away, elaboration of " cut your 

Mahogany flat, a bug. 

Mail, to post a letter ; " this screeve is mailed by a sure hand." 

Main-toby, the highway, or the main road. See TOBY. 

Make, any one is said to be " on the MAKE" who asks too high a price 

for his goods, or endeavours in any way to overreach. 
Make, to steal, a successful theft or swindle. A man on the look-out for 

swindling opportunities is said to be "on the MAKE." 
Make tracks, an Americanism synonymous with skedaddle; to makt 

oneself scarce. 

Make-up, personal appearance. Theatrical. 
Makings, materials. A man is often said to have the MAKINGS of a good 

politician (or whatever' he may aspire to be) in him, if they were but 

properly applied. 
Malapropism, an ignorant, vulgar misapplication of language, so 

named from Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Sheridan's famous 

comedy of the Rivals. Mrs. Partington afterwards succeeded to the 

mantle of Mrs. Malaprop; but the phrase Partingtonism is as yet 


uncoined, for the simple reason that Mrs. Malaprop was the original, 
Mrs. Partington the imitation. 

Malley, a gardener. Anglo-Indian. 

Manablins, broken victuals. 

Man a-hanging, a man in difficulties. See HANGING; 

Maudozy, a term of endearment among East-end Jews ; probably fron> 
the valiant fighter named Mendoza. 

Mang, to talk. Scotch. 

Man-handle, to use a person roughly, as to take him prisoner, turn him 
out of a room, or give him a beating. 

Man in the moon, the gentleman who is supposed to find the 
"pieces" to pay election expenditure and electors' expenses, so long 
as the latter vote his way. See ELECTION INQUIRIES. 

Marbles, furniture, movables; "money and MARBLES," cash and per- 
sonal effects. 

Marchioness, a little, dirty, old-fashioned maid-of-all-work ; a title 
now in regular use, but derived from the remarkable character in the 
Old Curiosity Shop. 

Mare's nest, a supposed discovery of marvels, which turn out no marvels 
at all ; from a story similar to that about the cock neighing. Three 
Cockneys, out ruralizing, had determined to find out something about 
nests. Accordingly, when they ultimately came upon a dungheap, 
they judged by the signs therein that it must be a MARE'S NEST, espe- 
cially as they could see the mare close handy. An old preacher in 
Cornwall up to very lately employed a different simile, as, " It's like 
a cow calving up in a tree." 

Marine, or MARINE RECRUIT, an empty bottle. This expression having 
once been used in the presence of an officer of marines, he was at first 
inclined to take it as an insult, until some one adroitly appeased his 
wrath by remarking that no offence could be meant, as all that it could 
possibly imply was, " one who had done his duty, and was ready to 
do it again." 

Mark, to make one's MARK is to achieve a success literary, artistic, or 
otherwise. Men of eminence are said to leave their MARKS on the 
earth's surface. An American poet has described this ambitious, 
albeit somewhat rare, proceeding as leaving "footprints on the sands 
of time." 

Marketeer, a betting man who devotes himself, by means of special 
information, to the study of favourites, and the diseases incident to that 
condition of equine life. The MARKETEER is the principal agent in all 
milking and knocking-out arrangements. 

Market-horse, a horse simply kept in the betting-lists for the purpose 
of being betted against. 

Marplot, an officious bungler, who spoils everything he interferes witk 

Marriage lines, a marriage certificate. Provincial* 


Marrow, a mate, a fellow-workman, a pitman who works in a "shift" 
with another. Northumberland and Durham. 

Marrow-bones, the knees ; "I'll bring him down upon his MARROW 
BONES," i.e., I'll make him bend his knees as he does to the Virgin 
Mary. Supposed to be from Mary Bones, an objectionable term used 
by the first Protestants in reference to the supposed adoration of the 
Virgin Mary by Catholics. 

Marrowskying. See MEDICAL GREEK. 

Marry, a very old term of asseveration, originally (in Popish times) a 
mode of swearing by the Virgin Mary ; <f.d., by Mary. 

Martingale, a gambling term, which means the doubling of a stake 
every time you lose ; so that when you win once you win back all 
that you have lost. So called from the fact that, as in all fair games 
you must win once, you have a safe hold of fortune. The difficulty is 
to obtain a bank large enough to do this effectively, or having the bank 
to find any one who will follow you far enough, in a fair game. 

Mary Ann, the title of the dea ex machina evolved from trades-unionism 
at Sheffield, to the utter destruction of recalcitrant grinders. She is 
supposed to do all the "blow-ups, "steal all the bands, and otherwise 
terrorize over victims of the union. 

Marygold, one million sterling. See PLUM. 

Maskeo, never mind, no consequence. Anglo- Chinese. 

Massacre Of the innocents, when the leader of the House of Com- 
mons goes through the doleful operation of devoting to extinction a 
number of useful measures at the end of the session, for want of time 
to pass them. Vide Times, 2Oth July, 1859 : Mr. C. Foster, on 
altering the time of the legislative sessions. Parliamentary Slang. 

Master of the Mint, a gardener. 

Master of the Bolls, a baker. 

Mate, the term a coster or low person applies to a friend, partner, or com- 
panion j "me and my MATE did so and so," is a common phrase with 
a low Londoner. Originally a sea term. 

Matey, a labourer in one of Her Majesty's dockyards. Common elabora- 
tion of the word MATE. 

Maudlin, Magdalen College, Oxford. This is the old English pronun- 
ciation of the word. 

Mauley, a fist, that with which one strikes as with a mall. Pugilistic. 

Mauley, a signature, from MAULEY, a fist; "put your fist to it," is 
sometimes said by a tradesman when desiring a fellow-trader to put his 
signature to a bill or note. 

Maund, to beg ; " MAUNDERING on the fly," begging of people in the 
streets. Old Cant. MAUNG, to beg, is a term in use amongst the 
gipsies, and may also be found in the Hindoo vocabulary. MAUND, 
however, is pure Anglo-Saxon, from MAND, a basket. Compare BG, 
which is derived from BAG a curious parallel 


Maw, the mouth ; "hold your MAW," cease talking. 

Mawworm, a hypocrite of the most unpleasant kind. From BickerstafPs 
play of The Hypocrite, Originally a MAWWORM was a worm in the 
stomach, the thread worm. 

Max, gin ; MAX upon tick, gin obtained upon credit. 

Mazarine, the platform beneath the stage in large theatres. Probably 

corruption of Italian, MEZZANINO. 
M. B. coat, (i.e., Mark of the Beast,) a name given to tne long surtout 

worn by some of the clergy, a modern Puritan form of abuse, said to 

have been accidentally disclosed to a High Church customer by a tailor's 

orders to his foreman. 
Mealy-mouthed, soft-spoken, plausible, deceitful. A specious liar is 

said to be MEALY-MOUTHED. 

Mean White, a term of contempt among negroes, in the old slavery days, 
for white men without landed property. A white man in the Southern 
States had no locus standi unless he possessed property, and the blackest 
of niggers would have felt insulted at any " poor white trash" claim- 
ing to be " a man and brother." 

Measley, mean, miserable-looking, "seedy;" what a MEASLEY-looking 
man !" i.e., what a wretched, unhappy fellow. 

Medical Greek, the slang used by medical students at the hospitals. 
At the London University they have a way of disguising English, de- 
scribed by Albert Smith as the Gower Street Dialect, which consists 
in transposing the initials of words, e.g., "poke a smipe" smoke a 
pipe ; "flutter-by" butterfly, &c. This disagreeable nonsense, which 
has not even the recommendation of a little ability in its composition, 
is often termed Marrowskying. See GREEK, ST. GILES'S GREEK, or the 
" jEgidiac" dialect, Language of ZIPH, &c. 

Meisensang, a missionary, Chinese pronunciation of the English word. 
A nglo- Chinese. 

Menagerie, the orchestra of a theatre. Theatrical. 

MenavelingS, odd money remaining after the daily accounts are made 
up at a railway booking-office, usually divided among the clerks. 

Men of Kent, men born in that portion of the " garden of England " 
which lies east of the Medway, as distinguished from Kentish men 
born the other side. The MEN OF KENT are entitled to the benefit of 
the old laws of the county, that of gavelkind particularly. 

Merkin, a term usually applied to a woman's privities. Originally false 
hair for those parts. 

Merry Dun of Dover, a large ship figuring hi sailors' yams. She 
was so large that when passing through the Straits of Dover her flying 
jib-boom knocked down Calais steeple ; while, at the same time, the 
fly of her ensign swept a flock of sheep off Dover cliffs. She was so 
lofty that a boy who attempted to go to her mast-head found himself a 
grey old man when he reached the deck again. This yarn is founded 
on a story in the Scandinavian mythology. There is also a legend 


among sailors of the gallant Thunderbomb, which had "ninety-nine 
decks and no bottom." 

Mesopotamia, a name given to Eaton Square and neighbourhood when 
first built. This part was also called Cubitopolis. Fashionable slang. 

Mess, to interfere unduly. Costermongers refer to police supervision as 
MESSING. Among sailors, a dead man is said to have lost the number 
of his MESS. 

Metallician, a racing bookmaker. Bookmakers use metallic books 
and pencils. 

Middy, abbreviation of midshipman. Naval. 

Midge net, a lady's veil. 

Mike, an Irish hodman, or general labourer. 

Mike, to loiter ; or " lazy about." The term probably originated in St. 
Giles's, which is thronged with Irish labourers, who rarely or never 
labour (MiKE being so common a term with them as to become a 
generic appellation for Irishmen), and who loiter and lean against the 
public-houses in the " Dials." It has been said that the term is Old 
English, MICHE, to skulk, to loiter ; Old Norse, MAK, leisure, idle- 

"Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a MICHER?" 

Skakspeares Hen. IV., ii. 4. 

Whatever may have been its origin, there can be now no doubt that 
the word is supposed to have particular reference to the habits of the 
Irish MIKES, or labourers, though now and again it is borrowed in the 
interests of others. 

Mild, second-rate, inferior. See DRAW IT MILD. Also feeble, inefficient, 
as " a MILD attempt." Weak young men who keep bulldogs, and 
dress in a "loud" stable style, from a belief that it is very becoming, 
are sometimes called "MILD bloaters." 

Milk, a term used in connexion with racing ; when a horse is entered in 
a race for which his owner does not intend him to run, or at all events 
in which he does not intend him to win, and bets against him, the animal 
is said to " be MILKED." MILKING, is keeping a horse a favourite, at 
short odds, for a race in which he has no chance whatever, or in which 
he will not be allowed to try, for the purpose of laying against him. 

Milky ones, white linen rags. 

Mill, a fight, or set to. Ancient Cant, MYLL, to rob. Probably from 
the special opportunities afforded to pickpockets when the ring was 
a "national institution." 

Mill, to fight or beat. 

Mill, the old Insolvent Debtors' Court. "To go through the MILL" waa 
equivalent to being "whitewashed." 

Mill, the tread-MlLL. 

Miller. To drown the MILLER is to put too much water in anything. 
The phrase was originally " to drown the MILLER'S thumb," or go over 
the specified mark, i.e., the thumb-mark, in adding water to ardent 


Mil 1 er. " To give the MILLER" is to engage a person in conversation of an 
apparently friendly character, when all at once the bystanders surround 
and pelt him with flour, grease, and filth of various kinds, flour pre- 
dominating. This mode of punishing spies, infonners, and other 
obnoxious individuals, is used by cabmen, omnibus nductors, et hoc 
genus omne. Eggs are useful missiles in an engagement of this 
description. If rotten eggs are not obtainable, ordinary ones will do. 

Miller. This word is frequently called out when a person relates a stale 
joke. See JOE. 

Milvader, to beat. 

Mish, a shirt, or chemise. From COMMISSION, the ancient cant for a 
shirt, afterwards shortened to K'MISH or SMISH, and then to MISH. 
French, CHEMISE ; Italian, CAMICIA. 

" With his snowy CAMKSK and his shaggy capote." Byron. 
Mitey, a cheesemonger. 

Mitten. " To get the MITTEN " is, in Canadian slang, to be jilted. 
Mittens, the boxing gloves. 
Mizzle, a frequentative form of MIST in both senses ; as applied to 

weather, it is used by John Gadbury in his Ephcmeris in 1695 

MISTY and MIZZLING to come down as mist ; while the other 

sense may be expressed as to fade away like a mist. 
Mizzle, to run away, or decamp; to disappear as in a mist. From 

MIZZLE, a drizzling rain; a Scotch mist. 

" And then one MIZZLING Michaelmas night, 
The Count he MIZZLED too." Hood. 

Mizzler, or RUM-MIZZLER, a person who is clever at effecting an escape, 

or getting out of a difficulty. 
Moab, a name applied to the turban-shaped hat which was some few 

years back fashionable among ladies, and ladylike swells of the other 

sex. From the Scripture phrase, " MOAB is my washpot " (Ps. Ix. 8), 

which latter article the hat in question was supposed to resemble. 

Mob. Swift informs us, in his Art of Polite Conversation, that MOB was, 

in his time, the slang abbreviation of " mobility," just as NOB is of 

"nobility," at the present day. See SCHOOL. 

" It is perhaps this humour of speaking no more words than we needs must which 
has so miserably curtailed some of our words, that in familiar writings and con- 
versation they often lose all but their first syllables, as in MOB., red., pos., 
incog., and the like." Addisotis Spectator. 

Mob, a thief s immediate companions, as, " our own MOB ;" MOBSMAN, 

a dressy swindler or pickpocket. 
Mob, to hustle, crowd round, and annoy, necessarily the action of a large 

party against a smaller one, or an individual. Mobbing is generally a 

concomitant of street robbery. 
Mobility, the populace; or, according to Burke, the " great unwashed." 

Johnson calls it a cant term, although Swift notices it as a proper 



Mockered, holey, marked unpleasantly. A ragged handkerchief and * 
blotched or pitted face are both said to be MOCKERED. 

Modest quencher, a glass of spirits and water. Dick Swiveller was 

Moey, the mouth. Gipsy and Hindoo. Shakspeare has MOE, to make 

Mofussilite, an inhabitant of an up-country district. Anglo-Indian. 

Moisten your chaffer, a slang phrase equivalent to "take some- 
thing to drink." Also "moisten your clay," originally applied to 
smokers, now general, and supposed to have reference to the human 

Moke, a donkey. Gipsy, but now general to all the lower orders. A 
"coster" and his "moke" are almost inseparable terms. Probably 
derived originally from the Arabic al mocreve, a carrier. 

Moko, a name given by sportsmen to pheasants killed by mistake 
during September, before the pheasant-shooting comes in. They 
pull out their tails, and roundly assert that they are no pheasants 
at all, but MOKOS. 

Moll, a girl ; nickname for Mary. Old Cant. 

Moiled, followed, or accompanied by a woman. When a costermonger 
sees a friend walking with a woman he does not know, he says on the 
first opportunity afterwards, " I see yer the other night when yer was 
MOLLED up and too proud to speak." 

Mollisher, a low girl or woman ; generally a female cohabiting with a 
man who gets his living by thieving. 

Mollsack, a reticule, or market basket. 

Moll Thomson's mark, that is, M. T. empty; as, " Take away this 
bottle, it has MOLL THOMSON'S MARK on it. See M. T. 

Moll-tooler, a female pickpocket. 

Mollycoddle, an effeminate man j one who " coddles " amongst the 
women, or does their work. 

Mollygrubs, or MULLIGRUBS, stomach ache, or sorrow which to the 
costermonger is much the same, as he believes, like the ancients, that 
the viscera is the seat of all feeling. Costermongers are not alone, 
even in the present day, in this belief. 

Molrowing, "out on the spree," in company with so-called "gay 
women." In allusion to the amatory serenadings of the London cats. 
Another form of this is, ' ' out on the tiles. " 

Mondayish, or Mondayfied, disinclined for work. "St. Monday "is 
a great institution among artizans and small tradesmen. 

Monk, a term of contempt ; probably an abbreviation of MONKEY. 

Monkey, spirit or ill temper; "to get one's MONKEY up," to rouse his 
passion. A man is said to have his MONKEY up or the MONKEY on his 
back, when he is "riled," or out of temper ; this is old, and was pro- 
bably in allusion originally to the evil spirit which was supposed to be 
always present with a man ; also under similar circumstances a man is 
laid to have his back or hump up. 


Monkey, the instrument which drives a rocket. Army. 

Monkey, SOD/. Sporting Slang. 

Monkey, the vessel in which a mess receives its full allowance of grog. 


Monkey-board, the place or step attached to an omnibus, on which 
the conductor stands. 

Monkey-boat, a peculiar, long, narrow, canal boat. 
Monkey with a long tail, a mortgage. Legal. 

Monkey's allowance, to get blows instead of alms, more kicks than 

Monkery, the country, or rural districts. Originally an old word for a 
quiet or monastic life. Hall. 

Monniker, a person's name or signature. 

Month of Sundays, an indefinite period, a long time. 

Mooch, to sponge ; to obtrude oneself upon friends just when they are 
about to sit down to dinner, or other lucky time of course quite ac- 
cidentally. Compare HULK. To slink away, and allow your friend to 
pay for the entertainment. In Wiltshire, TO MOOCH is to shuffle. 
See the following. 

Mooching, or ON THE MOOCH, on the look-out for any articles or cir- 
cumstances which may be turned to a profitable account ; watching in 
the streets for odd jobs, horses to hold, &c. ; also scraps of food, drinks, 
old clothes, &c. 

Moon, a month ; generally used to express the length of time a person has 
been sentenced by the magistrate ; thus " one MOON" is one month of 
four weeks. A calendar month is known as a "callingder" or long MOON. 
A "lunar MOON," ridiculous as the phrase may seem, is of constant 
use among those who affect slang of this description. 

Mooney, intoxicated, a name for a silly fellow. 

Mooning, loitering, wandering about in a purposeless manner. 

Moonlight, or MOONSHINE, smuggled spirits. From the night-work of 

Moon-raker, a native of Wiltshire ; because it is said that some men 
of that county, seeing the reflection of the moon in a pond, took it to 
be a cheese, and endeavoured to pull it out with a rake., a learned man, professor, or teacher. An^lo-Indian. 

Moonshine, palaver, deception, humbug. 

Mop, a hiring place (or fair) for servants. Steps are often "about to be 
taken" to put down these assemblies, which have been proved to be 
greatly detrimental to the morality of the poor. They are supposed 
to contribute largely to the bastardy percentages. 

Mop, an habitual drunkard. Also a period of intoxication. " To be utt 


the MOP" is to be on the drink from day to day to be perpetually 
"stale drunk." 

Mop up, to drink, or empty a glass. Old Sea term. 

Mops and brooms, intoxicated. Supposed by an imaginative person 
to be the appearance presented by the world to a very drunkemran. 
Possibly the term was first used to express sea-sickness. 

Mopusses, money ; " MOPUSSES ran taper," money ran short. 

Moral, a forthcoming result which appears certain originally MORAL cer- 
tainty. This is racing slang, as, " The race is a MORAL for Cremorne " 
These MORALS are often, however, of very uncertain tenure. 

More-ish. When'there is scarcely enough of an eatable or drinkable, it is 
said to taste MORE-ISH ; as, "This wine is very good, but it has a slight 
MORE-ISH flavour." 

Morris, to decamp, be off. Probably from the ancient MORESCO, 01 
MORRIS-DANCE. See Shakspeare. 

Mortar-board, a square college cap. 
Mortgage-deed, a pawnbroker's duplicate. 

Moskeneer, to pawn with a view to obtaining more than the actual value 
of an article. There are, in various parts of the country, men who make 
MOSKENEERING a profession that is, they buy jewellery which, though 
fairly good, is not so good as it seems, and pawn it as opportunity 
occurs. It is notorious that some men can obtain a much larger sum 
on a given article than others can ; though the smallest of these pro- 
fessionals generally manage to get good livings, which does not say 
much for the judgment of those constant inspectors of persorial pro- 
perty pawnbrokers' assistants. 

Mot, a girl of indifferent character. Formerly, Mart. Dutch, MOTT- 
KAST, a harlotry. MOT-CART, see LOOSE-BOX. 

Mouchey, a Jew. 

Mouldy, grey-headed. Servants wearing hair-powderare usually termed 
MOULDY-PATES by street boys. 

Mouldy-grubs, travelling showmen, mountebanks who perform in the 
open air without tent or covering. Doing this is called MOULDY- 

Mount, a saddle-horse. According to quality, "a good MOUNT," or " a 
bad MOUNT. 

Mount, in theatrical parlance, to prepare for production on the stage. 
" The piece was excellently MOUNTED." 

Mo (inter , a false swearer. Derived from the borrowed clothes men used 
to MOUNT, or dress in, when going to swear for a consideration. 

Mountain-dew, whisky, advertised as from the Highlands. 

Mountain-pecker, a sheep's head. See JEMMY. 

Mourning, "a full suit of MOURNING," two black eyes; HALT- 
MOURNING, one black eye. 


Mouse, a black eye. By a faqon de parler, any one with " a MOUSt " is 
supposed to have been to Blackwall. 

Mouth-almighty, a noisy, talkative person. 

Mouthpiece, a lawyer, or counsel. Thieves and their associates always 

speak of a counsel as a MOUTHPIECE. 
Move, a " dodge," or cunning trick ; " up to a MOVE or two," acquainted 

with tricks. Probably derived from the game of chess. 

M.F., member of the police, one of the slang titles of the Force. 

Mrs. Grundy, the representative of the censorious world, " What will 
MRS. GRUNDY say r* Originally a character in the comedy of Speed 
the Plough. 

Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Gamp, nicknames of ft\z Morning Herald &R&. 
Standard newspapers, while united under the proprietorship of Mr. 
Baldwin. MRS. GAMP, a monthly nurse, was a character in 
Charles Dickens's popular novel of Martin Chuzzlewit, who continually 
quoted an imaginary MRS. HARRIS in attestation of the superiority of 
her qualifications, and the infallibility of her opinions ; and thus 
afforded a parallel to the two newspapers, which appealed to each other 
as independent authorities, being all the while the production of the 
same editorial staff. See introductory article. 

Mrs. Jones, the house of office, a water-closet. 

M.T., railway slang used by porters and pointsmen for empties, or empty 
carriages. See MOLL THOMSON'S MARK. 

Much of a muchness, alike, very much the same thing. 

Muck, to beat, or excel. " It's no use, his luck's dead in ; he'd MUCK 
a thousand ; " "he MUCKED me clean out," &c. To RUN A MUCK, 
or GO A MUCKER, to rush headlong into certain ruin. From a certain 
religious frenzy, or intoxication caused by bhang, which is common 
among the Malays, and which now and again causes an enthusiast, 
kreese in hand, to dash into a crowd and devote every one he meets to 
death until he is himself killed, or falls from exhaustion Malay, 
AMOK, slaughter. 

fltuckender, or MUCKENGER, a pocket-handkerchief. Old. Cf. SNOT- 
TINGER. The original name of the " Neckinger" in Bermondsey 
was " the Devil's Neck-handkerchief." There is still a Neckinger 
Road and Messrs. Bevington and Sons' tannery in Bermondsey bears 
the name of the Neckinger Mills. 

Mucker, TO GO A, to go to grief, to ruin one's prospects. Oxford Univ. 

Muck-OUt, to clean out ; often applied to one utterly ruining an adver- 
sary in gambling. 

Muck-snipe, one who has been "MUCKED OUT," or beggared, at 
gambling. See MUCK. 

Mud-crusher, a word of contempt, used by the cavalry in reference to 
the infantry. 

Mudfog, " The British Association for the Advancement of Science.' 
Term first used by Charles Dickens in Benitys Miscellany, - ' 


Mud-lark, a man or woman who, with clothes tucked above the knee, 
grovels through the mud on the uanks of the Thames, when the tide 
is low, for silver or pewter spoonn, old bottles, pieces of iron, coal, or 
any articles of the least value, deposited by the retiring tide, either from 
passing ships or the sewers. Occasionally applied to those men who 
cleanse the sewers, and who wear great boots and sou'-wester hats. 
Those who are employed in banks and counting-houses, in collecting 
and other out-door duties, have also this appellation. 

Mud-student, a farming pupil The name given to the students at 
the Agricultural College, Cirencesier. 

Muff, a silly or weak-minded person, a duffer ; MUFF has been denned to 
be " a soft thing that holds a lady's hand without squeezing it." 

Muffin-Cap, a cap similar to that worn by a charity-boy. 

Muffin-face, a white, soft, delicate, or whiskerless face. 

Muffin- worry, an old lady's tea party. 

Mufti, the civilian dress of a naval or military officer when off duty. 
Anglo-Indian. From an Eastern word signifying a clergyman or priest. 

Mug, the mouth, or face. Old. 

" 'GOBLET AND MUG.' Topers should bear in mind that what they quaff from the 
goblet afterwards appears in the MUG." 

Mug, to strike in the face, or fight. Also, to rob or swindle. Gaelic, 
MUIG, to suffocate, oppress ; Irish, MUGAIM, to kill, destroy. 

Mug, " to MUG oneself," to get tipsy. 

Mugging, a thrashing, synonymous with "slogging," both terms of 
the " ring," and frequently used by fighting men. 

Muggy, drunk. Also, as applied to weather, stifling, oppressive. 

Mug -Up, to paint one's face, or dress specially with a view to imperso- 
nation. Theatrical. To " cram" for an examination. Army. 

Mull, " to make a MULL of it," to spoil anything, or make a fool of one- 

Mulligrubs. Vide MOLLYGRUBS. 

Mullingar heifer, a girl with thick ankles. Irish. The story goes 
that a traveller, passing through Mullingar, was so struck with this 
local peculiarity in the women, that he determined to accost the next 
one he met. "May I ask," said he, "if you wear hay in your 
shoes?" "Faith an' I do," said the girl; "and what then?" 
" Because," says the traveller, " that accounts for the calves of your 
legs coming down to feed on it." 

Multee kertever, very bad. Italian, MOLTO CATTIVO. General!} 
used with the affix of bloke when referring to a man. Phrase much 
used by circus riders. 

Mum, " to keep MUM," to hold one's peace. Hence " MUM'S the word," 
a phrase which implies to all hearers that the matter to which it refers 
must remain secret. 

Mummer, a performer at a travelling theatre. Ancient. Rustic per- 
formers at Christmas in the West of England. 



Mump, to beg. In Lincolnshire, Boxing-day is known as MUMPING 

Mumper, a beggar. A collector of holiday tribute. 

Mumps, the miserables. To feel MUMPISH is to be heavy, dull, and 

MundungUS, trashy, coarse tobacco. Sometimes used to represent the 
half-soddened, half-calcined residuum at the bottom of an all-but- 
smoked-out pipe, which, when knocked out, is vulgarly called the 
TOPPER, q. v, Spanish, MONDONGO, black pudding. 

Mungarly, bread, food. MUNG is an old word for mixed food, but MUN- 
GARLY is doubtless derived from the LingtM Franca, MANGIAR, to eat. 
See the following. 

Mungarly casa, a baker's shop ; evidently a corruption of a 
Lingua Franca phrase for an eating-house. The well-known " Nix 
Mangiare" stairs at Malta derive their name from the endless beggars 
who lie there and shout, "Nix mangiare," i.e., "Nothing to eat," to 
excite the compassion of the English who land there, an expression 
which exhibits remarkably the mongrel composition of the Lingua 
Franca, MANGIARE being Italian, and Nix (German, NIGHTS), an 
evident importation fvom Trieste, or other Austrian seaport. 

Munging, or MOUNGING, whining, begging, muttering. North. 

Muns, the mouth. German, MUND. Old Cant. 

Murerk, the mistress of the house. See BURERK. 

Murkarker, a monkey, vulgar Cockney pronunciation of MACAUCO, 
a species of monkey. Jacko Macauco, or Maccacco, as he was mostly 
called, was the name of a famous fighting monkey, who used nearly 
fifty years ago to display his prowess at the Westminster pit, where, 
after having killed many dogs, he was at last " chawed up" by a bull 

Murphy, a potato. Probably from the Irish national liking for potatoes, 
MURPHY being a surname common amongst the Irish. MURPHIES 
(edible) are sometimes called DONOVANS. 

Murphy, "in the arms of MURPHY," i.e., fast asleep. Corruption of 

Mush, an umbrella. Contraction of MUSHROOM. 

Mush (or MUSHROOM) faker, an itinerant mender of umbrellas. 

Mushroom, a hat, shaped like the fungus from which it takes its name, 
often worn by demure ladies. 

Muslin, a woman or girl ; " he picked up a bit of MUSLIN." 

Musta, or MUSTER, a pattern, one of a sort. Anglo-Indian term used fal 
describing the make or pattern of anything. A sample of any kind of 
merchandize. This word is very generally used in commercial transac- 
tions all over the world. 

Mutton, a contemptuous term for a woman of bad character; sometimes 
varied to LACED MUTTON. The expression was used as a cant term 
for a " wild duck" in the reign of James I. As a slang term it was 
employed by Ben Jonson in his masque of NeptunJs Triumph, whch 


was written for display at Court on Twelfth Night, 1623; "a fine 
LACED MUTTON or two," are the words applied to wantons. Shakspeare 
has the term. In that class of English society which does not lay any 
claim to refinement, a fond lover is often spoken of as being " fond of 
his MUTTON," which, by the way, in this place does not mean the 
woman so much as something else. 

Mutton chops, a sheep's-head. A man who has dined off sheep's-head 
dignifies his meal by calling it MUTTON CHOPS (chaps). 

Mutton-fist, an uncomplimentary title for any one having a large and 
muscular, bony, or coarse hand. 

Mutton-walk, the saloon at Dairy Lane Theatre. A vulgar appella- 
tion applied to this place early in the last century, still in use in the 
neighbourhood of Covent Garden, which was formerly the great resort 
for the gay and giddy of both sexes. 

Muzzle, the mouth. 

Muzzle, to fight or thrash ; to throttle or garrotte. 

Muzzier, a blow in the mouth ; a dram of spirits. 

Muzzy, intoxicated. 

My aunt, AUNT JONES, or MRS. JONES, the closet of decency, or house 
of office. 

My lord, a nickname given to a hunchback. 

My tulip, a term of endearment used by the lower orders to persons and 
animals ; " ' Kim up, MY TULIP,' as the coster said to his donkey when 
thrashing him with an ash stick." 

My uncle, the pawnbroker, generally used when any person questions 
the whereabouts of a domestic article. "Oh ! only at MY UNCLE'S" is 
the reply. " Up the spout" has the same meaning. It is worthy of 
remark that the French call this useful relative "ma tante," my 

Nab, to catch, to seize ; " NAB the rust," to take offence. Ancient, four- 
teenth century. See NAP. 

Nab the rust, to take offence. 

Nabob, an Eastern prince, a retired Indian official, hence a slang term 
for a capitalist. From Nawaub. 

Nabs, self ; my NABS, myself ; his NABS, himself. North Country Cant. 

Nag, to persistently talk in a scolding manner, after the manner of Mrs. 
Caudle. NAGGING is supposed to be persistent, persevering, passion- 
less scolding. 

Nail, to steal, or capture; "paid on the NAIL,"*>., paid ready money ; 
NAILED, taken up, or caught, probably in allusion to the practice of 
NAILING bad money to the counter. We say, "as dead as a door-NAiL ;" 
most possibly because of " apt alliteration." Shakspear ehas the ex- 
pression in Henry IV, 

" Faktaff. What ! is the old king dead? 
Pistol. As NAIL in door." 

Dickens, in that marvellous little book, A Christmas Carol, says : 

& a 



" Old Marley was as dead as a DOOR-NAIL. 

"Mind ! I don't mean to say that I know of my own knowledge what there is par- 
ticularly dead about a DOOR-NAIL. I might have been inclined myself to 
regard a COFFIN-NAIL as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But 
the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile : and my unhallowed hands shall 
not disturb it, or the country's done for. You will, therefore, permit me to 
repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a DOOR-NAIL." 

Nail in One's coffin, a dram, "a drop o' summat' short," a jocular, 
but disrespectful phrase, used by the lower orders to each other at the 
moment of lifting a glass of spirits to their lips. "Well, good luck ! 
here's another NAIL IN MY COFFIN." This is probably in ridicule of 
teetotal or temperance preachers, and the arguments adduced by them. 
Another phrase with old topers is " shedding a tear," also " wiping an 

Namby-pamby, particular, over-nice, effeminate. This was possibly of 
Pope's invention, and first applied by him to the affected short-lined 
verses addressed by Ambrose Phillips to Lord Carteret's infant children. 
See Johnson's Life of Pope. 

Nammus, or NAMOUS, to be off, to get away; " let's NAMMUS, some- 
body's coming." See VAMOS.'* 

Nanny-shop, a disreputable house. 

Nantee, not any, or " I have none." NANTEE also means "shut up!' 
or "leave off!" Italian, NIENTE, nothing. See DINARLY. Lingua 

Nantee palaver, no conversation, i.e., hold your tongue. Very often 
in this sense also shortened to NANTEE only. Originally Lingua 
franca, but now general. 

Nap, or NAB, to take, steal, or receive ; "you'll NAP it," i.e., you will 

catch a beating. North ; also Old Cant. 
Nap, to break, or rap with a hammer. See KNAP. North. 
Nap, or NAPPER, a hat. From " nab," a hat, cap, or head. Old Cant. 
Nap TiiTr, a person who works at his trade, and occasionally goes on the 

stage to act minor parts without receiving any pay. The derivation it 

oV>vio-is. See NAP and NIX, i.e., NIGHTS. 
Nap one's bib, to cry, shed tears, or carry one's point. 
Nap the regulars, to divide the booty. 
Nap the teaze, to be privately whipped in prison. 
Nark, a person in the pay of the police ; a common informer ; one who 

gets his living by laying traps for publicans, &c. Sometimes called a 


Nark, to watch, or look after ; " NARK the titter," watch the girl 
Narp, a shirt. Scotch. 

Narrow, mean, sordid. Scotch. In common slang, dull of comprehen- 
sion, as distinguished from wide awake. 
Nasty, ill-tempered, cross-grained. " He wa very NASTY," i*., he WM 



Nation, or TARNATION, very, or exceedingly. Corruption of damna- 

Natty, pretty, neat, tidy. Old. 

Natural, an idiot, a simpleton. Sometimes HALF-NATURAL. 

Nawy, en excavator employed in making railways, canals, &c. Origi- 
nally slang, but now a recognised term. Short for navigator, a term 
humorously applied to excavators when their chief work was that ol 
cutting and banking canals, making dykes to rivers, &c. 

N. C., "enough said," being the initials of NUF CED. A certain theatrical 
manager spells, it is said, in this style. 

Near, mean and stingy. 

Neardy, a person in authority over another ; master, parent, or foreman. 

Neat, unmixed with water. " Two half goes of gin, one NEAT, the other 
cold," meaning one as drawn, the other diluted with cold water. The 
Americans use the word "straight" instead of NEAT : " I'll take mine 
straight. " 

Neck, to swallow. Neck-oil, drink of any kind. 

Neck and Crop, entirely, completely ; " he chuck'd him NECK AND 
CROP out of window." 

Neck and neck. Horses run NECK AND NECK in a race when they are 
so perfectly equal that one cannot be said to be before the other. 

Neck Or nothing, desperate. Originally a steeplechase phrase. 

Neck beef, a synonym for coarseness. " As coarse as neck ends of beef." 

Neckinger, a cravat. .SV^MUCKENGER. 

Ned , a guinea. HALF-NED, half-a-guinea, 

Neddy, a considerable quantity, as "a NEDDY of fruit," "a NEDDY of 
fish," &c. Irish slang. 

Neddy, a donkey. On Sunday, when a costermonger, if at all well to do, 
takes his family out for an airing in his " shallow," the donkey is called 

Neddy, a life preserver. Possibly contraction of Kennedy, the name 
of the first man, it is said in St. Giles's, who had his head broken by a 

Ned Stokes, the four of spades. North Hants. See Gentleman' s Maga- 
zine for 1791, p. I4* 

Needful, money, cash ; the " one thing NEEDFUL '' for the accomplish- 
ment of most pet designs. 

Needle, to annoy. To "cop the NEEDLE" is to become vexed or annoyed. 

Needy mizzler, a shabby person ; a tramp who runs away without 
paying for his lodging. 

Never trust me, an ordinary phrase with low Londoners, and common 
in Shakspeare's time, vide Twelfth Night. It is generally used instead 
of an oath, calling vengeance on the asseverator, if such-and-such does 
not come to pass. 


Newgate fringe, or FRILL, the collar of beard worn under the chin ; 
so called from its occupying the position of the rope when Jack Ketch 
operates. Another name for it is a TYBURN COLLAR. 

Newgate Knocker, the term given to the lock of hair which co'ter- 
mongers and thieves usually twist back towards the ear. The shape 
is supposed to resemble the knocker on the prisoners' door at Newgate 
a resemblance that carries a rather unpleasant suggestion to the 
wearer. Sometimes termed a COBBLER'S KNOT, or COW-LICK. 

Newmarket, in tossing, when the game is "two out of three," that is, 
when he who gains the first two tosses wins. When the first toss is 
decisive, the game is termed "sudden death." 

Nibble, to take, or steal NIBBLER, a petty thief. 

Nib-cove, a gentleman. NIBSOMEST CRIBS, best or gentlemen's houses. 
Beggar's Cant. 

Nib-like, gentlemanly. 

Nibs, self. His NIBS, means any one who may be referred to. As, 
" I told his NIBS," or " stag his NIBS." " Your NIBS," yourself." 

Nick, or OLD NICK, the devil. Scandinavian, KNICKAR, one of the 
names of Odin, as the destroying or evil principle. 

Nick, to hit the mark ; "he's NICKED it," i.e., won his point. Also to 
steal. To be "out on the NICK," is to be out thieving. Sometimes 
described as being " on the pinch." 

Nick-nack, a trifle. Originally Cant. 

Niggling, trifling, or idling; taking short steps in walking. North. 

Nightcap, a glass of " warm with" taken the last thing at night. 

Night-hunter, a poacher. North. Also a London prostitute. Some- 
times in the latter capacity varied to night-hawk. 

Nil, half ; half profits, &c. 

Nilly -willy, i.e., NILL YE, WILL YE, whether you will or no; a familiar 
version of the Latin, NOLENS VOLENS. Generally written now, WILLY- 

Nirnming, stealing. Old English, NIM, to take. Motherwell, the 
Scotch poet, thought the old word NIM (to snatch or pick up) was 
derived from nam, nam, the tiny words or cries of an infant, when 
eating anything which pleases its little palate. A negro proverb has 
the word : 

" Buckra man NAM crab, 
Cram NAM buckra man." 

Or, in the buckra man's language 

" White man eat [or steal] the crak, 
And then crab eat the white man." 

Shakspeare evidently had the word NIM in his head when he portrayed 

Nincompoop, a fool, a hen-pecked husband, a "Jerry Sneak." Cor- 
ruption of non compos mentis. 


Nine corns, a pipeful of tobacco. 

Ninepence, "nice as NINEPENCE," all right, right to a nicety. A cor- 
respondent says : " This most undoubtedly should be NINE-PINS. For 
at the game of that name, in fairness to both parties, the nine pins 
must always be set up with great accuracy. There is no nicety in 
NINEPENCE 1" Evidently this correspondent does not know how nice 
it is to have ninepence, after being without money. At all events the 
phrase is " nice as NINEPENCE." 

Nines, "dressed up to the NINES," in a showy or recherche' manner. Up 
to the NINES, up to the dodges and "wrinkles" of life. 

Nine Shillings, cool audacity ; most probably derived from the FrtncA, 


Ning-nang, horse-coupers* term for a worthless thoroughbred. 
Ninnyhammer, a foolish, ignorant person. Generally shortened to 

NINNY. NINNY is also short for nincompoop. 
Nip, to steal, to take up quickly. See NAP and NIB. 
Nipcheese, a purser. Old Sea Slang. 

Nipper, a sharp lad. Originally a superior grade among cut-purses. 
Nix, nothing. German, NIGHTS. See MUNGARLY. 
Nix ! the signal word of schoolboys and workpeople to each other that 

the master, or other person in authority, is approaching. 
Nix my dollyonce a very popular slang song, beginning 

" In a box of a stone jug I was born, 

Of a hempen widow all forlorn ; 
And my old dad, as I've heard say. 
Was a famous merchant in capers gay ; 
Nix MY DOLLY, pals, fake away !* 

41 Capers " of course here refers to the mode of the old gentleman's 


Niz-priz, a writ of nisi-prius. Legal. 
Nizzie, a fool, a coxcomb. Old Cant, vide Triumph of Wit. 
Nob, the head. Pugilistic; "bob a NOB," a shilling a head. Ancient 

Cant, NEB. NOB is an early English word, and is used in the romance 

of Kyngt AHnaunder (thirteenth century) for a head j originally, no 

doubt, the same as knob. 
Nob, a person of high position, a "swell," aNOBleman, of which word 

it may be an abbreviation, or of NOBILIS. See SNOB. 
Nob. When the knave of trumps is held at the game of cribbage, the 

holder counts " one for his NOB." 

Nobba, nine. Italian, NOVE ; Spanish, NOVA, the b and v being inter- 
changeable, as in safe and savvey. Slang introduced by the "organ- 
grinders " from Italy. 

Nobba saltee, ninepence. Lingua Franca, NOVE SOLDI. 

Nobbing cheat, the gallows. Old Cant. 

Nobbing, collecting money; "what NOBBINGS?" i.e., how much have 


you got or collected from the crowd ? This term is much used by 

Nobble, to cheat, to overreach ; to discover. In the racing world, to 

" NOBBLE" a horse, is to "get at," and lame or poison him. 
Nobbier, a blow on the NOB, a finishing stroke; "that's a NOBBLER for 

him," i.e., a settler. Ptigilistic. 
Nobbier, a confederate of thimble-riggers and card -sharpers, who plays 

earnestly, as if a stranger to the " rig," and thus draws unsuspecting 

persons into a game. The same as a " bonnet" or " bearer-up." In 

the North of England, a low, cunning lawyer. 
Nobby, or NOBBISH, fine or showy ; NOBBILY, showily. See SNOB for 

No flies, an emphatic addition made to an assertion for the purpose of 

giving it weight. It really means " no error" or "no mistake." Both 

of them popular ; as, " A jolly fine girl, and NO FLIES !" 
No-fly, artful, designing. Term much used among printers, who shorten 

it to "N.F." 

Noli-me-tangere, the Scotch fiddle, or other contagious disease. 
Non-com, a non-commissioned officer in the army. 
No odds, no matter, of no consequence. Latimer's Sermon before 

Edward VI. 
Nooning, an interval for rest and refreshment, taken at midday by 

travellers in hot countries. 
Norfolk-Howards, bugs ; a person named Ephraim Bug some few 

years back advertised, that for the future he would call himself by 

the more aristocratic appellation of NORFOLK HOWARD. 
North, cunning. The inhabitants of Yorkshire and the Northern counties 

are supposed, like the canny Scots, to get the better of other people in 

dealing; hence the phrase, "He's too far NORTH for me, t.e., too 

cunning for me to deal with. 
North country compliment, to give or offer anything that is not 

wanted by either giver or receiver is to pass a NORTH COUNTRY 


Norwicher, more than one's share ; said of a person who leaves less 
than half the contents of a tankard for his companion. In what way 
the term originated, or why Norwich was selected before any other 
city is not known. Most likely from the slanders which the inhabitants 
of one town are always inventing about their neighbours. 

N^ose, a thief who turns informer ; a paid spy; generally called a police- 
man's NOSE ; " on the NOSE," on the look-out. 

Nose, to give information to the police, to turn approver. 

Nose, " to pay through the NOSE," to pay an extravagant price. 

Nose-bag, a visitor at a watering-place, or house of refreshment, who 
carries his own victuals. Term applied by waiters. 

Nose "em, or FOGUS, tobacco. NOSE 'EM is but a contraction of the 
rhyming slang, which see. 


Nose-ender, a straight blow delivered full on the nasal promontory. 

Nose in the manger, TO PUT ONE'S, to sit down to eat. To " put 
on the nose-bag" is to eat hurriedly, or to eat while continuing at work. 

Nose out of joint, TO PUT ONE'S ; to supplant, supersede, or mortify 
a person by excelling him. 

Noser, a hard blow, leading to a bloody or contused nose. Pugilistic. 

Notional, imaginative, full of ideas Used in America to express a 
wife's imaginations with regard to her husband's doings. 

Kouse, comprehension, perception. Old, apparently from the Greek, 
vovg. Gaelic and Irish, NOS, knowledge, perception. 

Nowhere, horses not placed in a race that are neither first, second, nor 
third are said to be NOWHERE, especially when this lack of position 
happens to favourites. 

Number of his mess, when a man dies in the army or navy, he is 
said to " lose the NUMIU.R OF HIS MESS." 

Norse, a curious term applied to competition in omnibuses. Two omni- 
buses are placed on the road to NURSE, or take care of, each opposi- 
tion "bus," one before, the other behind. Of course the central or 
NURSED bus has very little chance, unless it happens to be a favourite 
with the public. Recent legislation and tramways have done much to 
do away with NURSING. NURSK also means to cheat or swindle ; 
trastees are sometimes said to NURSE property, i.e., gradually eat it up 

Nut, the head, in pugilistic slang. Used as an exclamation at a fight, it 
means to strike on the head. In tossing it is a direction to hide the 
head ; to be " off one's NUT," to be crazed or idiotic. 

Nut-CUt, roguish, mischievous. A good-natured term of reproach. 

Nuts, to be NUTS on anything or person is to be pleased with or fond of it 
or him ; a self-satisfied man is said to be NUTS on himself. NUTTED, 
taken in by a man who professed to be NUTS on you. 

NUX, the "plant," or object 
in view. " Stoll up to the 
NUX?" "Do you fully com- 
prehend what is wanted ?" 
North Country Cant. 

Oaf, a lumbering, awkward 

Oak, the outer door of college 
rooms; to "sport one's 
OAK," to be "not at home" 
to visitors. See SPORT. '{, 

A " Sporting Door," or " Ode.' 
Oar, "to put in an OAR," to interfere. 

, " I put my OAR in no man's boat." Thacktrvy. 


Oat, an atom. Probable corruption of iota, or perhaps from the small 
size of an oat. " I never got an OAT of it," I never received the 
smallest portion. 

Oat-stealer, an ostler. 

Obfuscated, intoxicated. 

Obliquitous, oblivious of distinction between right and wrong. 

Obstropolous, Cockney corruption of obstreperous. 

Ochre, money, generally applied to gold, for a very obvious reason. 

O'clock, "like ONE O'CLOCK," a favourite comparison with the lower 
orders, implying briskness; otherwise "like winkin'." "To know 
what's O'CLOCK" is to be wide-awake, sharp, and experienced. 

Odd man out, a street or public-house game at tossing. The number 
of players is three or more. Each tosses up a coin, and if two come 
down head, and one comes tail, or vice versa, the ODD MAN loses or 
wins, as may have been agreed upon. Frequently used to victimize 
a "flat." If all be alike, then the toss goes for nothing, and the 
coppers are again " skied." It is easy for two men to arrange matters 
beforehand at this game, and so swindle a third. 

Odd man, a man who trains in company with a boat's crew, so that in 
the event of any one falling ill the seat will be fairly occupied. 

Odds, a phrase equivalent to "consequence;" "what's the ODDS?" 
i.e., what is the expected result? " It's no ODDS," *>., of no conse- 

3uence. ODDS, in sporting phraseology, refers to the proportions or 
ifferences of a bet. One bookmaker will lay ODDS of ' ' six to one" 
against such a horse winning ; whilst another, more speculative, or in 
the receipt of a first-rate " tip" (information about the horse in ques- 
tion) will ky " eight," or even " ten to one." 

Od rot it (Colmaris Broad Grins), DRAT IT, OD'S BLOOD, and all other 
exclamations commencing with OD, are nothing but softened or sup- 
pressed oaths. OD is a corruption of GOD, and DRAT of ROT. 

Off and On, vacillating ; "an OFF AND ON kind of a chap," one who 
is always undecided. 

Off at the head, crazy. Oxfordshire. 

Off one's chump. To be crazy is to be OFF ONE'S CHUMP ; this is varied 
by the word CHUMPY. A mild kind of lunatic is also said to be " off 
his head," which means of course exactly the same as the first phrase. 

Off one's feed. To be unable to eat is to be OFF ONE'S FEED. Origi- 
nally stable slang. 

Off the horn, a term used in reference to very hard steak, which is 
fancifully said to be OFF THE HORN. 

Office, "to give the OFFICE," to give a hint dishonestly to a confede- 
rate, thereby enabling him to win a game or bet, the profits being 
shared. Also in sporting phraseology to give any information worth 

OHish, distant, not familiar. Comiptvon of STAND-OFFISH. 


Ogle, to look, or reconnoitre. 

Ogles, eyes. Old Cant. French, (EIL. 

Oil of palms, or PALM OIL, money. 

Ointment, medical student slang for butter. 

O. K., a matter to be o. K. (DLL KORRECT, i.e., all correct), must be on 
the "square," and perfectly in order. This is an Americanism, and 
is derived from the initials o. K., said to have been marked on a docu- 
ment by an official to signify that all was right and proper. 

Old. boots, a simile as general in its application as it is irrelevant. " Like 
OLD BOOTS" means like anything. " As cheeky as OLD BOOTS ;" " As 
quick as OLD BOOTS," seem a little more reasonable, new boots being 
somewhat unfavourable to speedy locomotion. 

Old dog, a knowing blade, an experienced person. Butler uses the 
phrase, Hudibras, part ii. canto iii. 208, where it was said of Sidro- 
phel, " And was OLD DOG at physiology." An Irish proverb says, 
" OLD DOG for hard road," meaning that it requires an experienced 
person to execute a difficult undertaking. 

Old gentleman, the devil. Also a card almost imperceptibly longer 
than the rest of the pack, used by sharpers for the purpose of cheating. 

Old gooseberry (see GOOSEBERRY), OLD HARRY (Old Hairy), OLD 
SCRATCH, all synonyms for the devil. 

Old gown, smuggled tea. 

Old horse, salt junk, or beef. Sea. 

Old hoss, a term of endearment, originally an Americanism, but now 
in common use here among friends. 

Old Lady in Threadneedle Street, the Bank of England. 

Old man, in American merchant ships, the master. The phrase is becom- 
ing common in English ships. 

Old salt, a thorough sailor. 

Old Tom, extra strong gin ; sometimes termed CAT'S WATER. Various 
reasons are given for the use of the words OLD TOM. The distillers 
have the sign of a torn cat on their illuminated placards. The origin 
of the phrase is, however, in the fact that the managing clerk of a once 
celebrated "gin-spinning" firm, who was known as OLD TOM, 
used to keep a special bottle of extra good stuff with which to regale 
customers when they settled their accounts. To get a drink of Of,D 
TOM'S was then a great favour. Gradually the title became popular 
as representing very good strong gin. 

Oliver, the moon; "OLIVER don't widdle," i.e., the moon does not 
shine. Nearly obsolete. 

Ollapod, a country apothecary. From George Coleman's comedy of Thi 
Poor Gentleman. 

Omee, a master or landlord; "the OMEE of the carse/s a nark on the 
pitch," the master of the house will not let us perform. Italian, UOMO, 
a man ; " UOMO DELLA CASA," the master of the house. Latin, HOMO. 
Lingua Franca. 


Omnium gatherum, an indiscriminate collection of articles ; a nume- 
rous and by no means select assemblage. 

On, "to be ON," in public-house or vulgar parlance, is synonymous with 
getting "tight" or tipsy ; "it's St. Monday with him, I see he's ON 
again, ' i.e., drunk as usual, or on the road to it. " I'm ON" also ex- 
presses a person's acceptance of an offered bet. To GET ON a horse or 
a man is to make bets on it or him. " Try it ON," a defiant challenge 
to a person. 

On the fly, getting one's living by thieving or other illegitimate means ; 

the phrase is applied to men the same as "on the loose" is to women. 

ON THE FLY also means on the drink. 
Oil the loose, obtaining a living by prostitution ; in reality, on the 

streets. The term is applied to females only, excepting in the case of 

"sprees," when men carousing are sometimes said to be ON THE LOOSE. 
On the nose, on the watch or look-out. See NOSE. 

On the shelf, transported. With old* maids it has another and very 
different meaning. 

Oil the tiles, out all night " on the spree," or carousing, in allusion 
to the London cats on their amatory excursions. See CATERWAULING. 

One-er, that which stands for ONE, a blow that requires no repeating. In 
The Old Curiosity Shop, the " Marchioness" tells Dick Swiveller that 
"her missus is a ONE-ER" there a variation of " stunner." 

One in ten, a parson. In allusion to the tithing system. 

Onion, a watch-seal. 

O. P. Publishers' reply to an inquiry for a book or paper that is OUT 

Open the ball, to commence anything. 

Oracle, " to work the ORACLE," to plan, manoeuvre, to succeed by a wily 

Orate, an Americanism, which means, to speak in public, or make an 

Organ-grinder, an itinerant who is supposed to " GRIND" music 
out of a barrel-organ. 

Originator, an inventor of plans for the formation of joint-stock com- 
panies. The originator submits his schemes to the promoter, who 
accepts or rejects them. 

Otter, eightpence. Italian, OTTO, eight. Lingua Franca. 

Ottomy, a thin man, a skeleton, a dwarf. Vulgar pronunciation of 
ANATOMY. Shakspeare has ATOMY. 

Out, a dram glass. These glasses are two-OUT (half-quartern), three OUT, 
and four-OUT. An habitue of a gin-shop, desirous of treating a brace 
of friends, calls for "a quartern of gin and three OUTS," by which he 
means three glasses which will exactly contain the quartern. Really, 
the word glasses is understood. The man actually means, and on* 
or more three-OUT glasses. 


Out, in round games, where several play, and there can be but one loser, 
the winners in succession STAND OUT, while the others PLAY OFF. 

Out and OUt, prime, excellent of the first quality ; beyond measure. 
OUT-AND-OUTER, one who is of an OUT-AND-OUT descriptip- "up" 
to anything. 

An ancient MS. has this couplet, which shows the antiquity of the 
phrase : 

" The Kyng was good alle aboute, 
And she was wycked OUTB AND OUTE." 

Outcry, an auction Anglo-Indian. 

Outing, a day's holiday. The Oxford and Cambridge boatrace, the 
Derby, and other events of a like character, are each said to be simply 
excuses to the Cockneys for a day's OUTING. 

Out Of collar, out of place, in allusion to servants- When in place, 
the term is IN COLLAR. Most likely from "head in the COLLAR,'' 
said of horses when hard at work. 

Out on the loose, "on the spree," in search of adventures. See ON 


Out on the pickaroon. PICARONE is Spanish for a thief, but this 
phrase does not necessarily mean anything dishonest, but is often used 
to mean readiness for anything in the way of excitement. It also means 
to be in search of anything profitable, without much care as to honesty 
or otherwise. 

Outsider, a person who does not habitually bet, or is not admitted to the 
"ring," a duffer or good-for-nothing fellow. Also, a horse whose name 
does not appear among the " favourites." Sporting. 

Over ! or OVER THE LEFT, i.e., the left shoulder a common exclamation 
of disbelief in what is being narrated, sometimes implying that the 
results of a proposed plan will be OVER THE LEFT, i.e., in the wrong 
direction, loss instead of gain. 

Over, generally used in connexion with come, as, "He came it rather strong 
OVER me," i.e., tried to intimidate or compel me. The same phrase 
would also be used to imply that an excess of flattery or praise was 
being employed for a similar purpose, but that the adulation was 
being " laid on a little too thick" to be considered genuine. Also used 
thus sometimes : " You mustn't come Shakspeare OVER me," i.e., you 
mustn't assume an air of immeasurable literary superiority OVER me." 
" You mustn't come Rothschild OVER me," &c. 

Over, in cricket, four balls delivered from one end to another. After an 
OVER has been bowled, the fielders, wicket-keepers, &c., change ends, 
and the bowling goes on from the recent batting wicket. A MAIDEN- 
OVER is an OVER from which no runs are obtained. Four balls is the 
regulation number to an OVER in all important matches ; but little 
clubs and practice elevens suit their own convenience . 

Overs, the odd money remaining after the daily accounts are made up at 
a banking-house, usually divided amongst the clerks. See MENAVKL- 


Owned, a slang expression used by the ultra-Evangelicals' when a popular 
preacher makes many converts. The converts themselves are called 
his "seals." 

P. P., an expression much in use among racing men, which means play or 
pay, i.e.) either go on with the arrangement or forfeit the money. 
The following is a law of the turf ou the subject : 

The following races shall be considered " play or pay" : The Derby and Oaks 
at Epsom, the St. Leger at Doncaster, the Two Thousand Guineas, the 
One Thousand Guineas, the Cesarewitch and Cambridgeshire, at Newmarket, 
the Ascot, Goodwood, and Doncaster Cups, and all handicaps above 200 sovs. 
value with two forfeits, the minor of which shall not be less than 5 sovs. ; and 
the Committees of Tattersall's, and of the Subscription Room at Newmarket, 
will take no cognisance of any disputes respecting " play or pay" bets on any 
other races, or of any bets made upon handicap races before the weights are 

This is the exact law on the subject, but as a rule all bets on horse- 
racing are considered P. P. unless otherwise arranged. In all matches, 
though, whether turf, pedestrian, aquatic, or otherwise, a run is given 
for the money in ordinary betting transactions. 

P'S and q's, particular points, precise behaviour ; "mind your p's and 
Q'SJ" be very careful. Originating, according to some, from the simi- 
larity of p's and Q'S in the hornbook alphabet, and therefore the warn- 
ing of an old dame to her pupils, or, according to others, of a French 
dancing-master to his pupils, to mind their pieds (feet) and queue* 
(wigs) when bowing. 

Pack, to go away; "now, then, PACK off there," i.e., be off, don't 
stop here any longer. Old. ' ' Make speede to flee, be PACKING awaie." 
Bards Alvearie, 1580. Contraction of " PACK up and be off." 
Sometimes the term " sent PACKING" is used to indicate a sudden dis- 
charge, as of a servant or mistress. 

Packets, hoaxing lies. Sometimes used as an exclamation of incredulity. 


Pad, "to stand PAD," to beg with a small piece of paper pinned on the 
breast, inscribed, " I am starving." 

Pad, the highway ; also a tramp or itinerant musician. 

Pad the hoof, to walk; "PADDING THE HOOF, on the high toby," 
tramping or walking on the high road. 

" Trudge, plod away o f the HOOF." Merry Wives, L 3. 

Padding, the light articles in the monthly magazines, of which the serial 
stories are the main attraction. Publishers of magazines seem to 
think that if they get a serial story from a popular novelist they can 
pack any amount of rubbish into the remaining pages. This is not 
so in America, as magazines like the Atlantic Monthly and the Over* 
land Monthly show. 

Padding-ken, or CRIB, tramps' and boys' lodging-house. 
Paddle, to go or sun away. American. 


Paddy, PAT, or PADDY WHACK, an Irishman. A nickname of PATRICK. 

" I'm PADDY WHACK, from Baliyhack, 

Not long ago turn'd soldier ; 
In storm and sack, in front attack, 

None other can be boulder." Irisk Soitg. 

Paddy's goose, the sign of the White Swan, a noted flash public-house 
in the east of London, supposed to be Paddy's idea of a GOOSE. 

Paddy's land, " ould Ireland." 

Padre, a clergyman. From the Portuguese. 

Pal, a partner, acquaintance, friend, an accomplice. Gipsy, a brother. 

Palampo, a quilt or bed-cover. Probably from PALANPORE, a town in 
India, renowned for its manufacture of chintz counterpanes. Anglo- 

Palaver, to ask, or talk deceitfully or otherwise, as occasion requires i 
"PALAVER to his nibs for a shant of bivvy," ask the master for 
a pot of beer. NANTEE PALAVER (pronounced PERLARVER), cease 
talking. In this sense used by tramps. Derived from the Portu- 

Pall, to stop ; "PALL that," spoken authoritatively, means, cease what 
you are doing. From PALL, a small instrument which is used to stop 
the windlass or capstan at sea. When a man says, " I am PALLED, 
he means he cannot or dare not say any more. A sailor, on receiving 
any extraordinary intelligence, will say, "You PALL me," i.e., you 
confound me. Most likely from the order frequently given on board 
ship, "Ease and PALL." 

Palm, to impose upon. "You can't PALM that off upon me," is said 
when an intending purchaser is suspicious of the quality of the article 

Palm oil, or PALM SOAP, money ; also, a bribe. 

Palmer, a swindler who used to visit shops under the pretence of collecting 
harp halfpence. To induce shopkeepers to search for them, he offered 
thirteenpence for one shilling's-worth, when many persons were silly 
enough to empty a large quantity of copper on their counters. The 
PALMER, a proficient with his fingers, generally contrived to conceal 
some before he left the shop. 

Palming, robbing shops by pairs one thief bargaining with apparent 
intent to purchase, whilst the other watches his opportunity to steal. 
The following anecdote will give an idea of their modus operandi. A 
man once entered a "ready-made" boot and shoe shop, and desired to 
be shown a pair of boots his companion staying outside and amusing 
himself by looking in at the window. The one who required to be 
f resh shod was apparently of a humble and deferential turn, for he 
placed his hat on the floor directly he stepped into the shop. Boot 
after boot was tried on until at last a fit was obtained, when in 
rushed a man, snatched up the customer's hat left near the door, and 
ran down the street as fast as his legs could carry him. Away went 
the customer after his hat, and Crispin, standing at the door, clapped 
his hands, and shouted, " Go it, you'll catch him r little thinking that 


it was a concerted trick, and that neither his boots nor the customer 
would ever return. Instances of this kind of work frequently occur. 
PALMING sometimes refers to secreting money or rings in the hand, 
as well as to bribing. PALMING is also the generic term for all 
that kind of conjuring which depends on manual dexterity, and which 
is totally distinct from the mechanical-contrivance department. 

Pain, the knave of clubs at the game of loo ; or, in street phraseology, 
while the "Judicious Bottleholder" was alive, Lord Palmerston. 

Pannikin, a small pan. 

Pannum, food, bread. Lingua Franca, PANNEN ; Latin, PANIS ; 
Ancient Cant, YANNAM. 

Pannum-bound, said of a pauper or prisoner when his food is stopped. 
PANNUM-STRUCK, very hungry, starving. 

Panny, a house public or otherwise; "flash PANNY," a public house 
used by thieves; PANNY-MEN, housebreakers. PANNY, in thieves' 
cant, also signifies a burglary. 

Pantalettes, the drawers worn in America by little girls. 

Pantile, a hat. The term PANTILE is properly applied to the mould into 
which the sugar is poured which is afterwards known as "loaf sugar." 
Thus, PANTILE, from whence comes the phrase, "a sugar-loaf hat," 
originally signified a tall, conical bat, in shape similar to that usually 
represented as the head-gear of a bandit. From PANTILE the more 
modern slang term TILE has been derived. Halliwell gives PANTILE 
SHOP, a meeting-house, from the steeple-crowned or PANTILE hats of 
its frequenters. PANTILE also means a flat cake with jam on it, given 
to boys at boarding-schools instead of pudding. 

Pantiler, a Dissenting preacher. Probably from the practice of the 
Quakers, and many Dissenters, of not removing their hats in a place of 
worship ; or from the sugar-loaf ha'.s originally worn by Puritans. 
Another derivation is from the earthen tiles, technically PANTILES 
(tiles hollowed in the middle, as distinguished from "pintiles," th.j 
older sort, which are flat, smaller, and pinned or nailed to the rafters), 
with which meeting-houses of Dissenters are usually covered ; hence 
the meeting-house came to be called a PANTILE, and its frequen'ers 


Pants, American term for trousers. Here used to represent the long 

drawers worn underneath. 
Panupetaston, a loose overcoat with wide sleeves, now out of fashion. 

Oxford University. 
Paper-maker, a rag-gatherer, or gutter-raker similar to the chiffonnier 

of Paris. Also, a man who tramps through the country, and collects 

rags on the pretence that he is an agent to a paper mill. 
Paper-worker, a wandering vendor of street literature ; one who sells 

ballads, dying speeches, and confessions, sometimes termed a "running 

Parachute, a parasoL 


Paradise, French slang for the gallery of a theatre, "up amongst the 
GODS," which see. 

Parish lantern, the moon. 

Parish prig, or PARISH BULL, a parson. Thieves' cant. 

Parnoy, rain; "dowry of PARNEY," a quantity of rain. Anglo-Indian 
slang from the Hindoo, PANI, water ; Gipsy, PANE. Old Indian officers 
always call brandy-and-water "brandy PAWNEE." 

Parson, a signpost. Common term in the north, where they say that the 
PARSON points, but does not lead. This is given, as the lawyers say, 
"without prejudice." 

Parson Truiliber, a rude, vulgar, country clergyman, devoted to agri- 
cultural pursuits ; the race is most probably now extinct. From the 
pig-feeding and pig-headed parson in Joseph Andrews. 

Parson's nose, the hind part of a goose a savoury mouthful. Some- 
times called the POPE'S NOSE. 

Part, to pay, restore, or give up ; " he's a right un, he is ; I know'd he'd 
PART," i.e., he is a liberal (or punctual) person, and pays his debts, or 
bestows gratuities. The term is in general use in sporting circles, and 
is very commonly employed when speaking of the settlement of bets 
after a race. It is probably derived from the very common reference to 
stingy people, who are described as not liking to PART with their money. 

Parter, a free, liberal person. Sometimes called a "good PARTER." 
Any one who looks twice at his money, or who doesn't pay it at all, is 
called a "bad PARTER." 

Party, a person term in very general use, similar in application to the 
German pronoun, MAN, a person, people ; " where s the PARTY as 
'ad a' orter be lookin' after this 'ere oss ?" policeman's inquiry of the 
wrong cabman ; "old PARTY," an elderly person. The term is said 
to have arisen in our old justice courts, where, to save " his worship" 
and the clerk of the court any trouble in exercising their memories with 
the names of the different plaintiffs, defendants, and witnesses, the 
word PARTY was generally employed. Dean Alford remarked : 

"The word PARTY for a man is especially offensive. Strange to say, the use is 
not altogether modern. It occurs in the English version of the Apocryphal 
book of Tobit, vi. 7. ' If an evil spirit trouble any, one must make a smoke 
thereof before the man or the woman, and the PARTY shall be no more vexed.' " 

In Shakspeare we find the term : 

Stephana. How now shall this be compassed? Canst thou bring me to the 
PARTY?" Tempest, iii. a. 

This is not the only instance of the word being used by the immortal 
bard. " I once heard," said the Dean just quoted, " a venerable dig- 
nitary pointed out by a railway porter as an old PARTY in a shoveL" 
The last word is the vulgar term applied to the peculiar hat worn by 
clerical dignitaries. 

Pash, to strike ; now corrupted to BASH, which see. Shakspeare. 

Paste, to beat, to thrash vigorously. 

Pasteboard, a visiting card ; "to PASTEBOARD a person," to drop a card 
at an absent person's house. 



Paste-horn, the nose. Shoemakers nickname any shopmate with a 
large nose "old PASTE-HORN," from the shape of the horn in which 
they keep their paste. 

Pasty, a bookbinder. 

Patch.. This old English term of reproach, long obsolete in polite Ian- 
guage, may yet occasionally be heard in sentences like these : " Why, 
he's not a PATCH upon him," i.e., he is not to be compared with him ; 
"one's not a PATCH on the other," &c. Shakspeare uses the word in 
the sense of a paltry fellow : 

"What a pied ninny's this? thou scurvy PATCH !" 

In old English PATCH meant a fool, a wearer of patched clothes of 

Patent coats, the first coat, with the pockets inside the skirt, were so 

Patter, a speech or discourse, a pompous street oration, a judge's sum' 
ming up, a trial. Ancient word for muttering. Probably from the 
Latin, PATERNOSTER, or Lord's Prayer. This was said, before the 
Reformation, in a " low voice" by the priest, until he came to " and 
lead us not into temptation," to which the choir responded, " but 
deliver us from evil. " In the reformed Prayer Book this was altered, 
and the Lord's Prayer directed to be said "with a loud voice." 
Dr. Pusey takes this view of the derivation in his Letter to the Bishop 
of London, p. 78, 1851. Scott uses the word twice, in Ivanhoe and 
the Bride of Lammermoor, 

Patter, to talk. PATTER FLASH, to speak the language of thieves, talk 

Patteran, a gipsy trail, made by throwing down a handful of grass occa- 
sionally, especially where they have turned off from the main road. 

Patter-crib, a flash house. 

Patterer, one of a race now nearly defunct, who cried last dying 
speeches, &c., in the streets. The term is also applied to those who 
help off their wares by long harangues in the public thoroughfares. 
These men, to use their own term, "are the aristocracy of the street 
sellers," and despise the costermongers for their ignorance, boasting 
that they live by their intellect, which, as they do not live wonderfully 
well, is no particularly wise boast. 

Pattern, a common vulgar phrase for " patent." 

Paul Pry, an inquisitive person. From the well-known comedy. 

Paw, the hand. PAW-CASES, gloves. Boots are in some parts of Ireland 
called " gloves for the feet. 

Pay, to beat a person, or " serve him out." Originally a nautical term, 
meaning to stop the seams of a vessel with pitch (French, poix) 
"here's the d 1 to PAY, and no pitch hot, said when any cata- 
strophe occurs which there is no means of averting ; " to PAY over face 
and eyes, as the cat did the monkey ;" " to PAY through the nose," to 



give a ridiculous price, an expressive phrase of which no one seems 
to know the origin. Shakspeare uses PAY in the sense of to beat or 

Pay, to deliver. " PAY that letter to Mr. So-and-so" is a very common 
direction to a Chinese servant. Anglo-Chinese. 

Pay-away, "go on with your story, or discourse." From the nautical 
phrase PAY-AWAY, meaning to allow a rope to nm out of a vessel. 
When the hearer considers the story quite long enough, he, carrying 
out the same metaphor, exclaims " hold on." 

Peach., an informer against omnibus conductors and drivers, one espe- 
cially hired by the proprietors to count passengers and stoppages. The 
term is in frequent use amongst omnibus-men. This is about the only 
instance known of the verb being used as a substantive. 

Peach, to inform against or betray. Webster states that the word " im- 
peach" is now mostly used, and that PEACH is confined principally to 
the conversation of thieves and the lower orders. The word was origin- 
ally " impeach," though it was never until lately used in the same way 
as its abridgment. 

Peacock horse, amongst undertakers, is one with a showy tail and 
mane, which holds its head up well. PEACOCKY refers to an objection- 
able high action among racehorses. 

Peaking, remnants of cloth. Term amongst drapers and cloth ware- 

Peaky, sickly, delicate. 

Pec, a term used by the Eton boys for money, an abbreviation, of course, 
of the Latin PECUNIA. 

Peck, food ; " PECK and boose," meat and drink. Lincolnshire. Ancient 
Cant, PEK, meat. 

Peck, to eat voraciously. A hearty eater is generally called "a rare 
PECKER." Originally PECK was to eat delicately, "but we have 
changed all that now." 

Peck-alley, the throat. 

Pecker, " keep your PECKER up," i.e., don't get down in the mouth, 
literally, keep your beak or head well up, " never say die !" 

Peckham, a facetious usage of the name of this district, implying a 
dinner ; " all holiday at PECKHAM," i.e., nothing to eat. 

Peckish, hungry. Old Cant, PECKIDGE, meat 

Peel, to strip, or disrobe. Sporting. 

Peeler, a policeman ; so called from Sir Robert Peel (see BOBBY) ; pro- 

?srly applied to the Irish Constabulary rather than the Metropolitan 
olice, the former force having been established by Sir Robert Peel. 

Peepers, eyes; "painted PEEPERS," eyes bruised or blackened from a 

blow. Pugilistic. 
Peery, suspicious, or inquisitive. 
Peg, brandy and soda-water. A PBG by which to pull oneself up again. 

Also, a shilling. Scotch. 



Peg, "to PEG away," to strike, run, or drive awa ; " PEG a hack," to 
drive a cab ; "to take him down a PEG or two," to check an arrogant 
or conceited person, possibly derived from the use of PEG tankards. 
See PIN. 

Peg, to drink frequently; generally used in reference to devotees of 
" S. and B." 

Peggers, people who constantly stimulate themselves by means of brandy 
and soda-water. 

Pegtops, the loose trousers in fashion some years back, small at the 
ankle and swelling upwards, in imitation of the Zouave costume. 

Penang-lawyer, a long cane, sometimes carried by a footman. 
PENANG-LAWYERS are also bludgeons which are carried by all classes 
in Singapore. 

Pencil -fever, a supposititious disease among racehorses, the preliminary 
symptoms of which show that an animal has been pretty considerably 
"milked." PENCIL-FEVER sets in when, despite the efforts of the 
" marketeers," a horse can no longer be kept at a short price in the 
lists, through his actual condition being discovered, and when every 
layer of odds is anxious to write his name down. This disorder is also 
called " milk-fever," " market-fever," and other suggestive names. 

Penny-a-liner, a contributor of local news, accidents, fires, and scan- 
dals to a newspaper ; a man not regularly " on the paper ;" one who 
is popularly believed to be paid for each contribution at the rate of a 
penny a line, and whose interest is, therefore, that his articles should 
be stuffed with fine words and long sentences. This wonderful 
person, to whom so much is daily attributed, is now generally called a 


Penny dreadfuls, an expressive term for those penny publications 
jyhich depend more upon sensationalism than upon merit, artistic or 
literary, for success. 

Penny gaff, a shop turned into a temporary theatre (admission one 
penny), at which dancing and singing take place every night. Some- 
times rude pictures of the performers are arranged outside to give the 
front a gaudy and attractive look, and at night-time coloured lamps and 
transparencies are displayed to draw an audience. Zest is given to these 
entertainments by the fact that now and again the police make raids upon 
the houses, and carry off both actors and spectators. These places are 
also called " dukeys," for no reason that can be discovered. See GAFF. 

Penny Starver, a penny roll. See BUSTER. 

Pen'orth., value for money ; as, " I'll hare my HEN'ORTH," given irre- 
spective of the actual amount. 

Pensioner, a man of the most degraded condition who lives off the 
miserable earnings of a prostitute. There is an unmentionable prefix 
to the word PENSIONER. See PONCE. 

Pepper, to thrash, or strike. Pugilistic, but used by Shakspeare. 
Eastern Counties. 

Pepper-boxes, the buildings of the Royal Academy and National 


Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The name was first given by a wag, in 
allusion to the cupolas erected by Wilkins, the architect, upon the roof, 
which, from their form and awkward appearance, at a distance sug- 
gest to the stranger the fact of their being enlarged PEPPER-BOXES. 

Perch, or ROOST, a resting-place; "I'm off to PERCH," i.e., I am going 
to bed. 

Nor yet a single perch, for which my lucky stars to thank, 
Except thcfercA I've taken on this damp rheumatic bank." 

Lay of the Unsuccessful Angler. 

Perform, to carry out a design, generally a dishonest one. To "PER- 
FORM on a flat" is to cozen a fool. 

Perkin, beer. Dandy or affected shortening of the widely-known fir**, 
Barclay and Perkins. 

Perpendicular, a lunch taken standing-up at a tavern bar. It is usual 
to call it lunch, often as the PERPENDICULAR may take the place of 

Persuaders, spurs. 

Pesky, an intensitive expression, implying annoyance ; as, " A PESKY, 
troublesome fellow." Corruption of PESTILENT ; or, Irish-, PEASGACH, 
rough, rugged. PESKY has now become more American than English. 
Pesky Ike is the name of a popular American drama. 

Peter, a partridge. Poacher's term. 

Peter, a bundle, or valise. Also, a cash-box. 

Peter, to run short, or give out. American. 

Peter Funk, an American term for a spurious auction or "knock-out.'' 

Peter Grievous, a miserable, melancholy fellow ; a croaker. 

Petticoat, a woman. 

Pewter, money, like "tin," used generally to signify silver; also a 
tankard. " Let me have my beer in the PEWTER," is a common 
request to waiters, made by " City" men, and others who affect habits 
of rude health. The pots for which rowing men contend are often 
called PEWTERS. 

Philadelphia-lawyer, a Transatlantic limb of the law considered to be 
the very acme of acuteness. Sailors relate many stories of his artful 
abilities, none, however, short enough to find a place here. The 
phrase, " Enough to puzzle a PHILADELPHIA- LAWYER," means, 
enough to puzzle the sharpest man in the world. 

Philander, to ramble on incoherently ; to write discursively and weakly 

Philip, a policeman. The word is loudly given as a signal that the polic( 
are approaching. 

Philiper, a thief's accomplice, one who stands by and looks out for the 
police while the others commit a robbery, and who calls out " Philip 1" 
when any one approaches. 

Philistine, a policeman. The German students call all townspeople not 


of their body " Philister," as ours say " cads." The departing student 
says, mournfully, in one of the Burschenlieder 
" Muss selber nun PHILISTBR sein !" 

i.e., " I must now myself PHILISTINE be !" Also, a man who is of a 
set opposed to one's own. Society is supposed to regard all outside 
its bounds as belonging to the PHILISTINE world. Bohemians regard 
all cleanly, orderly people who conform to conventionality as PHI- 
Physog, or PHIZ, the face. Swift uses the latter word. Corruption of 


Picaroon, a pirate or buccaneer originally ; now an ordinary thief. 

Piccadilly butchers, a satirical name applied by the crowd to the 
regiment of Horse Guards, known as the "Royal Blues," from their 
savage onslaught upon the crowd on the occasion of the arrest of Sir 
Francis Burdett at his house in Piccadilly, by order of the Speaker of 
the House of Commons. See CHEESEMONGERS. 

Piccadilly weepers, long carefully combed-out whiskers cf the 
Dundreary fashion. 

Pick, "to PICK oneself up," to recover after a beating or illness, some- 
times varied to " PICK up one's crumbs ;" " to PICK a man up," "to 
do," or cheat him. 

Pickaninny, a young child is thus styled by the West Indian negroes. 
The word is now completely naturalized among sailors and water-side 
people in England. 

Pickers, the hands. Shakspeare. 

Pickle, a miserable or comical position ; " he is in a sad PICKLE," said of 
any one who has fallen into the gutter, or got besmeared. " A PICKLE 
herring," a comical fellow, a merry-andrew. Old. Also, a mischie- 
vous boy; "what a PICKLE he is, to be sure !" Derived from his 
always getting into a PICKLE, or mess. 

Pickles ! gammon ; also a jeering and insulting exclamation. 

Pick-me-up, a revivifying drink taken after a debauch ; a tonic. 

Piece, a contemptuous term for a woman ; a strumpet. Shakspeare. Not 
always objectionable nowadays. A " barber's clerk" does not object to 
hear his sweetheart or wife called "a nice PIECE ;" and gentlemen of 
the counter-jumping fraternity describe their " young ladies" as " nice 
PIECES of goods." 

Pieman. In tossing, the man who cries is called the PIEMAN. In the 
old days when the itinerant PIEMAN'S duty was to toss or sell, and his 
call was, "Hot pies, toss or buy, toss or buy," he was always suppose^ 
to be entitled to the cry, the intending eater "skying the copper." 
An active and efficient police have, however, improved tossing so far, 
at all events, as PIEMEN and poor people are concerned off the face 
of the earth, and gaming of all descriptions is now a luxury confined 
to the rich. 

Pig, a mass of metal, so called from its being poured in a fluid state from 
a SOW, which see. Workman's term. 


Pig, a policeman ; an informer. The word is now almost exclusively 
applied by London thieves to a plain-clothes man, or a " nose." 

Pig, a pressman in a printing office. See DONKEY. 

Pig, or sow's BABY, a sixpence. 

Pig, to live in a crowded, filthy manner. The lower orders of Irish an 
said to PIG together. A suggestive, if not elegant, expression. 

Pig and Tinder-box, the vulgar rendering of the well-known tavem 
sign, " Elephant and Castle." 

Pigeon, a gullible or soft person. The French cant, or Argot, has the 
word PIGEON, dupe " PECHON, PESCHON DE RUBY, apprenti gueux, 
enfant (sans doute derobe"). The vagabonds and brigands of Spain 
also used the word in their Germania, or robbers' language, PALOMO 
(PIGEON), ignorant, simple. In the sporting world sharps and flats 
are often called "rooks and PIGEONS" respectively sometimes 
" spiders and flies." 

Pigeon, business, simply the Chinese pronunciation of the English word 
A nglo- Chinese, 

Pigeon-English, the English spoken by the natives of Canton and 
other parts of China. 

Pigeon-flying, or BLUKY CRACKING, breaking into empty houses and 
stealing lead. 

Pigeon's milk, an imaginary fluid for which boys and simpletons are 
frequently sent on the 1st of April. 

Pig-headed, obstinate. 

Pig's eye, the ace of diamonds in cards. 

Pig's whisper, a low or inaudible whisper ; also a short space of time, 
synonymous with " cockstride," i.e., cock's tread. 

Pike, a turnpike ; " to bilk a PIKE," to cheat the keeper of the toll-gate. 
Mr. Tony Weller makes many amusing remarks on PIKES and PIKE- 
keepers. Since the first edition of this work was published, PIKES 
and piKE-keepers have departed from amongst us, so far as London 
and its immediate vicinity are concerned. 

Pike, to run, to be off with speed. 

Pike it, is said as a hasty and contemptuous, if not angry, dismissal , 
"if you don't like it, take a short stick and PIKK it." This is but a 
form of the attempts at rhyming smartness common in London. 

"Joe quickly his sand had sold, sir, 

And Bess got a basket of rags ; 
Then up to St. Giles's they roll'd, sir ; 

To every hunter Bess brags. 
Then unto the gin-shop they PIKK IT, 

And Bess was admitted, we hear; 
For none of the crew dare but like it, 
As Joey, her kiddy, was there," 

The Sand-man's Wedding, a Cantata. 

"Twas not our fault, dear Jack; we saw the watch going into the house tha 
moment we came there, and we thought it proper to PIKK OFF." Tht 
Prison Breaker, a Farce. 

Pikey, a tramp or gipsy. A PlKEY-cart is in various parts of the country 


one of those habitable vehicles suggestive of a wandering life. Possibly 
the term has reference to one who constantly uses the PIKE, or turnpike 

Pile, a sum of money ; generally the whole of a man's private means. A 
term originally peculiar to Californian miners, in reference to their 
accumulated dust and nuggets. American gamblers speak of " putting 
all the PILE on" when they fancy anything very much. " To go the 
whole PILE" runs level with our sporting phrase, " To go a raker." 

Pill, a doctor. Military. PILL-DRIVER, a peddling apothecary. 

Pill, to blackball a man at a club. Sometimes a man who is blackballed 
is described as having received too much medicine. 

Pill-bOX, a doctor's carriage. 

Pin, "to put in the PIN," to refrain from drinking. From the ancient 
peg tankard, which was furnished with a row of PINS, or pegs, to regu- 
late the amount which each person was to drink. Drunken people 
are often requested to " put in the PIN," from some remote connexion 
between their unsteadiness and that of a carriage wheel which has lost 
its linch-PlN. The popular cry, " Put in the PIN," can have n con- 
nexion with the drinking PIN or peg now, whatever it may originally 
have had. A MERRY PIN, a roysterer. See PEG. 

Pinch., to steal or cheat ; also, to catch, or apprehend. 

Pinchbeck, inferior, deteriorated. Anything pretending to more than 
its proper value is said to be PINCHBECK. 

" Where, in thesa PINCHBECK days, can we hope to find the old agricultural virtue 
in all its purity ? Framley Parsonage. 

PINCHBECK was an inferior metal, compounded of copper and zinc, to 
resemble gold. It was very fashionable in the last century, and derived 
its name from a Mr. PINCHBECK, a well-known London trrdesman, 
who manufactured watches, buckles, and other articles out of it. 
PINCHBECK first obtained his notoriety by the invention of an inge- 
nious candle-snuffers, which the author of The Heroic Epistk to Sir 
William Chambers made the vehicle of a facetious Ode that went 
through eight editions. The title of thisy>w d? esprit ran thus : 

" Ode to Mr. Pinchbeck, upon hu Newly-iitvenUd Candle-Snuffers, by MALCOLM 
M'GKEGOR, Esq., 1776. 

"Illustrious PINCHBECK ! condescend, 
Thou well-beloved, and best king's friend, 
These lyric lines to view ; 
Oh, may they prompt thee, ere too late, 
To snuff the candle of the State, 
That burns a little blue '." 

PINCHBECK published a poetical reply, and the two pamphlets were 

for a long lime the talk of the town. 

Pink, the acme of perfection. The scarlet garb worn in the hunting-field. 
Pink, to stab, or pierce. In the days of rapier-wearing a professed 

duellist was said to be " a regular PINKER and driller." 
Pinnel, or PFJ*NEL, corruption of penal servitude. As, " four-year 



Pinner-up, a seller of old songs, pinned against a wall or framed 
canvas. Formerly many of these street salesmen carried on their little 
" paper trade" in London, There are but one or two now left. 

Pins, legs. 

Pipe, to follow or dog a person ; to watch, to notice. 

Pipe, to shed tears, or bewail ; " PIPE one's eye." Sea term. 

" He first began to eye his pipe. 
And then to PIPE his eye, Hood. 

Metaphor from the boatswain's pipe, which calls to duty. 

Pipe, "to put one's PIPE out," to traverse his plans, " to take a rise" 
out of him. When any one meets with a rebuff or a sharp answer, he 
is often told to "put that in his PIPE and smoke it," i.e., to digest it 

Piper, a person employed by an omnibus proprietor to act as a spy on 
the conductor. 

Piper, a broken-winded hack horse. 

Pipkin, the stomach, properly, an earthen round -bottomed pot 

Pips, the marks, no matter of what suit, on playing cards. The ace u 
often called " single PIP." 

Pit, a breast-pocket 

Pitch, a fixed locality where a patterer can hold forth to a gaping multi- 
tude for at least some few minutes continuously ; " to do a PITCH ir 
the drag," to perform in the street. An itinerant is said to " make a 
PITCH" whenever he attempts to do any business. 

Pitch, to utter base coin. Smashers are known to themselves and theii 
friends, the rest of the dangerous classes, as " snide PITCHERS." The 
confederacy is divided into makers, buyers, holders, and pitchers. 
The maker probably never sees the actual passers of base money, the 
buyer being generally the intercommunicating medium. The holder 
is generally a man who carries the bulk of the "snides," and waits 
about ; while the pitcher, often a woman indeed, more often than 
not runs the actual risk. 

Pitch, to go to bed for less than the ordinary period. Journeymen 
bakers, and others whose work is disjointed, call any short interval of 
sleep a PITCH. Probably from the action. 

Pitch into, to fight ; "PITCH INTO him, Bill," i.e., give him a thrashing. 

Pitch the fork, to tell a pitiful tale. 

Pitch the nob, PRICK THE GARTER, which see. 

Place, to name the first three horses in a race. This is the duty of the 
judge, who sees nothing of the race but the finish. Sometimes an 
official will place more than the first three, but this in no way inter- 
feres with the meaning of the word as generally received. To run 
" nowhere" is to be unplaced. 

Place, first, second, or third position in a race. Sometimes a PLACE is 
called a "situation" or a "shop." 


Plant, a dodge, a preconcerted swindle ; a position in the street to sell 
from. All bearings-up, bonnetings, and such like arrangements, are 
the results of preconcerted schemes or PLANTS. 

Plant, to mark a person out for plunder or robberyj to conceal or hide 
money, &c. Old Cant. In the sense of conceal, there is a similar 
word in Argot, PLANQUER. 

Plant, a hidden store of money or vahtables. To "spring a PLANT" a 
to unearth another person's hoard. 

Platform, a standpoint in an argument, a statement of political or gene- 
ral opinion. " Home rule's my PLATFORM !" Originally Anuruan, 
but now general. 

Play, to strike for higher wages, to be out of work. North. 

Plebs, a term used to stigmatize a tradesman's son at Westminster 
School. Latin, PLEBS, the vulgar. 

Plough. To be PLOUGHED is to fail to pass an examination. About 
twenty years ago " pluck," the word then used, began to be superseded 
by PLOUGH. It is said to have arisen from a man who could not 
supply the examiner with any quotation from Scripture, until at last 
he blurted out, " And the ploughers ploughed on my back, and made 
long furrows." University. 

Ploughed, drunk. 

Pluck, the heart, liver, and lungs of an animal, all that is PLUCKED 
away in connexion with the windpipe, from the chest of a sheep or 

Pluck, to turn back at a University examination. The supposed origin 
of PLUCK is, that when, on degree day, the proctor, after having read 
the name of a candidate for a degree, walks down the hall and back, 
it is to give any creditor the opportunity of plucking his sleeve, and 
informing him of the candidate's being in debt. 

Pluck, courage, valour, stoutness. See following. 

Plucked un, a stout or brave fellow ; " he's a rare PLUCKED UN," i.e. t 
he dares face anything. 

During the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny PLUCKY, signifying 
courageous, became a favourite term ev"n among ladies ; and the term 
British PLUCK will probably live sla as is its origin as long as 
the language into which it has been adopted, for the history of the 
deeds with which it is associated can never die, while, indeed, a history 
remains to this country. The word met with great disfavour at first 
from the "genteel," but of course they followed when aristocracy 
deigned to use it. 

Plum, ^100,0000, usually applied to the dowry of a rich heiress, to a 
legacy, or to a sum made in business or by a lucky speculation. 

Plum-cash, prime cost. Anglo- Chinese. 

Plummy, round, sleek, jolly, or fat ; excellent, very good, first -rate. 

Plumper, a single vote at an election, not a "split ticket" 

Plunder, a common word in the horse trade to express profit. Also an 


American term for baggage, luggage. In Lower Canada the French 

packmen call luggage " butin." 
Plunger, a heavy cavalry-man. Military tlang. 
Plutocracy, the wealthy classes. The Manchester merchants are often 

termed a millocracy, and words of a similar character are mobocracy 

and moneyocracy. 
Pocket, to put up with. A man who does not resent an affront is said to 


Pocket-pistol, a dram-flask. 
Podgy, drunk ; dumpy, short, and fat. 
Pogram, a Dissenter, a fanatic, formalist, or humbug. So called from a 

well-known enthusiast of this name. 
Poke, a bag, or sack ; " to buy a pig in a POKE," to purchase anything 

without seeing it. POKE was originally a pocket. Shakspeare says 

" And then he pulled a dial from his POKE." 
Poke. " Come, none of your POKING fun at me," i.e., you must not laugh 

at me. 

Poker. " By the holy POKER and the tumbling Tom 1" an Irish oath. 
Pokers, or SILVER POKERS, the Bedels of the Vice-Chancellor, who carry 

silver maces, and accompany him through the streets. They are also 

officers of his court. University. 

" Around, around, all, all around, 

On seats with velvet lined, 
Sat Heads of Houses in a row, 
And Deans and College Dons below, 
With a POKER or two behind." 

Rime of the New-made Baccalere, 1841. 
Poky, confined or cramped; "that corner is POKY and narrow." 

Housewives describe a small uncomfortable room as "a POKY hole." 

Saxon, POKE, a sack. 
Policeman, a fly more especially the kind known as "blue bottle." 

Also, among the dangerous classes, a man who is unworthy of con- 
fidence, a sneak or mean fellow. 
Polish off, to finish off anything quickly a dinner, for instance ; also 

to finish off an adversary. Pugilistic. 
foil, at Cambridge, the "ordinary degree" candidates for the B.A. 

Examination, wko do not aspire to the "Honours" list. From the 

Greek, ol 7r6\Aot, "the many." 
Poll, to beat or distance, as in a race ; to utterly vanquish in competition. 

Term much used by printers. 
Poll, a female of unsteady character ; " POLLED up," means living with a 

woman in a state of unmarried impropriety. Also, if a costermonger 

sees one of his friends walking with a strange woman, he will say to him 

on the earliest opportunity, " I saw yer when yer was POLLED up." 
Poll, or POLLING, one thief robbing another of part of the booty. In use 

in ancient tunes, vide HaWs Union, 1548. 
Poll parrot, a talkative, gossiping woman. A term much used about 

Ratcliff Highway. 


Polony, Cockney shortening and vulgar pronunciation of Bologna 
(sausage). The sausages which are sold under the name of POLONIES 
have, however, no nearer connexion with Bologna sausages than that 
of the word's derivation. 

Pompadours, the Fifty-sixth Regiment of Foot in the British army. 

Ponce, a degraded man who lives upon a woman's prostitution. Low- 
class East-end thieves even will " draw the line" at PONCES, and object 
to their presence in the boozing-kens. 

Pond, or HERRING-POND, the sea ; so called by those who were sent 
across it at the national expense. 

Ponge, or PONGELOW, beer, half-and-half; the term is also used as a 
verb, as in the Cockney phrase, " let's PONGELOW, shall we?" 

Pony, twenty-five pounds. Sporting. 

Poona, a sovereign. Corruption of " pound ;" or from the Lingua 

Pop, to pawn or pledge ; "to POP up the spout," to pledge at the pawn- 
broker's, an allusion to the spout up which the brokers send the 
ticketed articles until such times as they shall be redeemed. The 
spout runs from the ground-floor to the wareroom at the top of the 
house. Ginger-beer is also known as POP. 

Pop the question, to make an offer of marriage. 

Pope's-eye, a peculiar little part in a leg of mutton, much esteemed by 
lovers of that joint. 

Pope's nose, the extremity of the ramp of a roast fowl, sometimes 
devilled as a dainty for epicures. Also known as " the parson's NOSE." 

Pops ^pocket -pistols. 

Porterhouse Steak, an American term for a steak which contains a 
small bone. In the States, tender-loin steaks are much eaten. These 
are from what we call the undercut of the sirloin. 

Portrait, a sovereign. Modification of " Queen's picture." 

Posa, a treasurer. A corruption of " purser," the name given to the 
treasurer in the large Anglo-Chinese mercantile establishments. 
A nglo- Chinese. 

Posh, a halfpenny, or trifling coin. Also a generic term for money. 

Post, to pay down ; " POST the pony" signifies to place the stakes played 
for on the table. 

Post-horn, the nose. See PASTE-HORN. 

Post-mortem, at Cambridge, the second examination which men who 
have been "plucked" have to undergo. University. 

Posted up, well acquainted with the subject in question, "up to the 
mark," metaphor drawn from the counting-house. 

Pot, a favourite in the betting for a race. Probably so called because it ii 
usual to say that a heavily-backed horse carries "a POT of money." 
When a favourite is beaten the POT is said to be upset. 

Pot, a sixpence, i.e., the price of a POT or quart of half-and-half. A half- 
crown, in medical student slang, is a FIVE-POT piece. 


Pot, TO GO TO POT, to die ; from the classic custom of putting the 
ashes of the dead in an urn ; also, to be ruined or broken up, often 
applied to tradesmen who fail in business. " Go to POT !" i.e., go and 
hang yourself, shut up and be quiet. L? Estrange. "To put the POT 
on," to overcharge or exaggerate. "Togo to POT" most probably 
means to go out of all shape, as metal in the melting-pot. 

Pot, to finish; "don't POT me," term used at billiards, when a player 
holes his adversary's ball generally considered shabby play. This 
word was much used by our soldiers in the Crimea in reference to 
shots from a hole or ambush. These were called POT-SHOTS. The 
term is still used to denote a shot taken sitting or at ease. 

Pot-boiler, a picture hurriedly painted for the purpose of " keeping the 
POT BOILING." Artistic slang. 

Pot-faker, a hawker of crockery and general earthenware. 

Pot-hat, a low-crowned hat, as distinguished from the soft wideawake 
and the stove-pipe. 

Pot-hunter, a sportsman who shoots anything he comes across, having 
more regard to filling his bag than to the rules which regulate the 
sport. A man who fires at anything, regardlss of the rules which 
govern true sportsmen. 

Pot-hunter, a man who gives his time up to rowing or punting, or any 
sort of match in order to win the " pewters" which are given as prizes. 
University. The term is now much used in aquatic and athletic 
circles ; and is applied, in a derogatory sense, to men of good quality 
who enter themselves in small races they are almost sure to win, and 
thus deprive the juniors of small trophies which should be above the 
attention of champions, though valuable to beginners. Also an unwel- 
come guest, who manages to be just in time for dinner. 

Pot-luck, just as it comes ; to take POT-LUCK, i.e., one's chance of a 
dinner, or of what there is for dinner. A hearty term, used to signify 
that whatever the pot contains the visitor is welcome to. 

Pot-valiant, courageous through application to the bottle. Possessed 
of Dutch courage. 

Pot-walloper, an elector in certain boroughs before the passing of the 
first Reform Bill, whose qualification consisted in being a housekeeper, 
-to establish which it was only necessary to boil a pot within the 
limits of the borough, by the aid of any temporary erection. This 
implied that he was able to provide for himself, and not necessitated 
to apply for parochial relief. Honiton, Tregoney, Ilchester, Old 
Sarum, &c., had this privilege before the passing of the first Reform 
Bill. Also, a scullion. 

Potato-trap, the mouth. Originally a Hibernicism. 

Potheen, whisky made in an illicit still, once a favourite drink in Ire- 
land, now almost unattainable. People resident in England who read 
of the charms of POTHEEN would be rather astonished if they were to 
taste it. It is real " fire-water" flavoured with peat-smoke. 

Potted, or POTTED OUT, cabined, confined, figurative of crammed iato a 
garden-pot. Also applied to burial, a horticultural allusion. 


Potter, to meddle without much judgment. Application various. A 
gentleman may describe himself as " POTTERING about in his garden," 
and think the phrase pleasant. The gardener, who has to do the work 
all over again, may, however, use the word in quite a different sense. 

Power, a large quantity; "a POWER of money." Irish at first, but 
now general. 

Pow-WOW, a conference. Originally an Indian term. 

Prad, a horse. PRAD-NAPPING was horse-stealing. Both these terms 
are old cant. 

Prancer, a horse. Ancient Cant. In modern slang an officer of 

Praties, potatoes. Irisk. 

Precious, used, in a slang sense, like very or exceeding ; " a PRECIOUS 
little of that," i.e., a very little indeed ; a PRECIOUS humbug, rascal, 
&c., i.e., an eminent one. 

Pretty horsebreakers, a phrase adopted some years back, in deference 
to common squeamishness, to denote the demi-monde, who dress so 
well and ride so daintily. Really, pretty heartbreakers. 

Prial, a corruption of PAIR-ROYAL, a term at the game of cribbage, 
meaning three cards of a similar description. Often used metaphori- 
cally for three persons or things of a kind. DOUBLK-PRIAL, a corrup- 
tion of DOUBLE PAIR-ROYAL, means four cards, persons, or things of a 
similar description. 

Prick the garter, or PITCH THE NOB, a gambling and cheating 
game common at fairs, and generally practised by thimble-riggers. It 
consists of a GARTER or a piece of list doubled, and then folded up 
tight. The bet is made upon your asserting that you can, with a pin, 
PRICK the point at which the garter is doubled. The garter is then 
unfolded, and nine times out of ten you will find that you have been 
deceived, and that one of the false folds has been pricked. The owner 
of the GARTER holds the ends tightly with one hand, and there is little 
doubt that he can make the "flat" lose and the "bonnet" win at 
pleasure. This was, doubtless, originally a gipsy game, and we are 
informed by Brand that it was much practised by the gipsies in the 
time of Shakspeare. In those days it was termed PRICKING At THE 


Prig, a thief. Used by Addison in the sense of a coxcomb. Ancient 
Cant, probably from the Saxon, PRICC-AN, to filch, &c. Shakspeare. 
PRIG, to steal or rob. PRIGGING, thieving. In Scotland the term 
PRIG is used in a different sense from what it is in England. In 
Glasgow, or at Aberdeen, " to PRIG a salmon" would be to cheapen 
it, or seek for an abatement in the price. A story is told of two 
Scotchmen, visitors to London, who got into sad trouble a few years 
ago by announcing their intention of " PRIGGING a hat" which they 
had espied in a fashionable manufacturer's window, and which one of 
them thought he would like to possess. 

Prig, a conceited, stuck up, over-knowing person ; one who appropriates 
cr adopts a manner or costume not suited to him. 


Priggish, conceited. 

J?rimed, said of a person in that state of incipient intoxication that if he 

took more drink it would become evident. Also, crammed for an 


Pro, a professional. Theatrical. 

Pro, the proproctor, or second in command in the proctorial police. The 

two proctors generally appoint a certain number of proproctors each 

Oxford University. 

Proctorized, TO BE, to be stopped by the Procter, and told to call on 
him. University. 

Prog, meat, food, &c. Johnson calls it " a low word." He was fond of 

"prog, "however. 
Proof, the best ale at Magdalen College, Oxford. 

Prop, a blow. As, "a PROP on the nose," more street slang than 

Prop, a scarf pin. 

Prop-nailer, a man who "sneaks," or rather snatches, pins from gen- 
tlemen's scarves. 

Proper, very, exceedingly, sometimes used ironically ; "you are a PROPER 
nice fellow, meaning a great scamp. A ' ' PROPER man " generally 
means a perfect man, as far as can be known. 

Props, crutches. 

Props, stage properties. Theatrical. 

Pros, a water-closet. Abbreviated form of irpdc nva rt>ifov. Some say, 
irpbf rov rtnrov. Oxford University. 

ProSS, to break in or instruct a stage-infatuated youth. Also, to 
6-punge upon a comrade or stranger for drink. In this latter capacity 
the word is in connexion with prostitute, a PROSSER being considered 
a most degraded being, and the word being supposed by many to repre- 
sent a man who lives on a woman's prostitution. er, a "Ranter," one who sings at a conventicle. See 


Pub, or PUBLIC, a public-house ; "what PUB do you use?" i.e., which 

inn or public-house do you frequent ? 
Public patterers, swell mobsmen who pretend to be Dissenting 

preachers, and harangue in the open air to attract a crowd for their 

confederates to rob. 
Pucker, poor or bad temper, difficulty, dtshabilU. PUCKER UP, to get 

in a bad temper. 

Puckering, talking privately. 
Puckerow, to seize, to take hold of. From the Hindjsta n't, PUCKERNA. 


Pudding-snammer, one who robs a cook-shop. 
Puff, to blow up, or swell with praise ; declared by a writer in the Weekly 

Register, as far back as 1 732, to be illegitimate. 
" PUFF has becooif cant word, signifying the applause set forth by writers, &0 


to increase the reputation and sale of a book, and is an excellent stratagem 
excite the curiosity of gentle readers." 

Lord Bacon, however, used the word in a similar sense a century 
before. Sheridan also seems to have remembered the use of the word, 
vide Mr. PUFF. 

Pug, a fighting man's idea of the contracted word to be produced fror* 

Pull, an advantage, or hold upon another ; " I've the PULL over (or of) 
you," i.e., you are in my power perhaps an oblique allusion to the 
judicial sense. See the following. 

Pull, to have one apprehended ; "to be PULLED up," or more recently 
" to be PULLED only, to be taken before a magistrate. The police 
are constantly "pulling" loitering, furiously driving, or drunken cab- 

Pull, to drink ; " come, take a PULL at it," i.e., drink up. 

Pull, to prevent a horse from winning, that is, so far as the rider's action is 

Pullet, a yoiuig girl. Filly is an exchangeable term. 

Pummel, to thrash, from POMMEL. 

Pump, to extract information by roundabout questioning. 

Pundit, a person who assumes to be very grave and learned. Anglo- 

Punkah, a fan, usually a fan of very large size, worked with a string, and 
used to ventilate rooms. Anglo-Indian. 

Punt, to gamble ; PUNTING-SHOP, a gambling-house. Common in 
ancient writers, but now disused. The word seems confined to playing 
for " chicken stakes." PUNT means now in the sporting world to back 
horses for small stakes. 

Punter, a small professional backer of horses. 

Pup and ringer, i.e., the "Dog and Bell," the sign of a flash public- 

Purdah, a curtain. Anglo-Indian. 

Pure finders, street-collectors of dogs' dung. Humorous. 

Purl, to spill ; PURLED is a hunting and steeplechasing term synonymous 
with " foaled," or " spilt" (thrown) ; "he'll get PURLED at the rails." 

purl a mixture of hot ale and sugar, with wormwood infused in it, a 
favourite morning drink to produce an appetite ; sometimes with gin 
and spice added : 

" Two penn'orth o" PURI/ 
Good ' early PURL,' 
'Gin all the world 
To put your hair into a curl, 
When you feel yourself queer of a mornin'." 

Purler, a heavy fall from a horse in the hunting or steeplechasing field. 
Push a robbery or swindle. " I'm in this PUSH," the notice given by one 

magsman to another that he means to " stand in." 
Push, a crowd. Old Cant. 


Pussey-cats, corruption of Puseyites, a name constantly, but impro- 
perly, given to the Tractarian party in the Church, from the 
Oxford Regius Professor of Hebrew, who by no means approved of 
the Romanizing tendencies of some of its leaders. The name still 
sticks, however, to this day. 

Put, a game at cards, once fashionable, but now played among thieves 
and costermongers only. 

Put, an obsolete slang term representing the modern " bloke" or "cove." 
It was generally applied to elderly persons. 

Put on, to promise another money or valuables in the event of an antici- 
pated success. "You're ON a quid if Kaiser wins," might often have 
been heard before last St. Leger. Many hangers-on of the turf live 
almost entirely by what they are PUT ON, by bookmakers and backers 
for whom they do odd work. 

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, said of a blow or repartee, 
and equivalent to take that and think over it, or digest it, or let it be 
a warning to you. 

Put the pot on, to put too much money upon one horse. Sporting. 

Put up, to suggest, to incite, "he PUT me UP to it ;" he prompted me to 
do it. PUT UP, to stop at an hotel or a tavern for entertainment. 

Put up, to inspect or plan out with a view of robbery. To obtain full 
particulars with regard to a house and its occupants, so that danger 
shall be reduced to a minimum, and the chances of success enlarged. 

Put Upon, cheated, victimized, oppressed. 

Putter up, a man who travels about for the purpose of obtaining in- 
formation useful to professional burglars. A man of this description 
will assume many characters, sometimes ingratiating himself with the 
master of a house, sometimes with the servants, but all to one end, that 
of robbery. He rarely or never joins in the actual burglary, his work 
being simply to obtain full particulars as to how, when, and where, for 
which he receives his full share of the "swag." 

Puttun, regiment. Anglo-Indian. 

Pyah, weak, useless, paltry. This word, much in use among sailors, is 
evidently derived from the Indian term PARIAH, signifying the lowest 
caste of Hindoos. Thus the Pariah dogs in India are termed PYAH 
dogs ; and the Pariah descendants of the old Portuguese settlers are 
called PYAH Portuguese. Sailors term the natives of St. Helena 
a wretched-looking set of individuals PYAH Englishmen. 

PygOStole, the least irreverent of names for the peculiar M. B. coats 
worn by Tractarian curates : 

" It is true that the wicked make sport 
Of our PYGOSTOLES, as we go by : 
And one gownsman, in Trinity Court- 
Went so far as to call me a ' Guy.' ' 

Pyjands, a kind of drawers or loose pantaloons. Anglo- Indian* 
Quad. Set QUOD. 
Quaker, a lump of excrement 



Quality, gentry, the upper classes. 

Quandary, described in the dictionaries as a "low word," may fittingly 
be given here. It illustrates, like "hocus-pocus," and other compound 
colloquialisms, the singular origin of slang expressions. QUANDARY, 
a dilemma, a doubt, a difficulty, is from the French, QU'EN DIRAI-JE? 

Quartereen, a farthing. Gibraltar term. Italian, QVATTRINO. 
Quaver, a musician. 

Quean, a strumpet. In Scotland, a lower-class woman. Saxon, CWEAN, 
a barren old cow. 

Queen Bess, the Queen of Clubs, perhaps because that queen, history 
says, was of a swarthy complexion. North Hants. See Gentleman s 
Magazine for 1791, p. 141. 

Queen's tobacco-pipe, the kiln in which all contraband tobacco 
seized by the Custom-house officers is burned. 

Queer, an old cant word, once in continual use as a prefix, signifying 
base, roguish, or worthless, the opposite of RUM, which signified 
good and genuine. QUEER, in all probability, is immediately derived 
from the cant language. It has been mooted that it came into use from 
a qiuzre ( ? ) being set before a man's name ; but it is more than probable 
that it was brought into this country, by the gipsies, from Germany, 
where QUER signifies "cross" or "crooked." At all events it is 
believed to have been first used in England as a cant word. 

Queer, " to QUEER a flat," to puzzle or confound a " gull," or silly fellow. 

'* Who in a row like Tom could lead the van, 

Booze in the ken, or at the spellken hustle? 
Who QUEER a flat," &c. Don. Juan, xi. 19. 

Queer bail, worthless persons who for a consideration formerly stood 
bail for any one in court. Insolvent Jews generally performed this 
office, which gave rise to the term JEW- BAIL, otherwise STRAW BAIL. 

Queer-bit-makers, coiners. 

Queer CUffen, a justice of the peace, or magistrate, a very ancient 
term, mentioned in the earliest slang dictionary. In this sense, as well 
as in that of the verb just given, the term is evidently derived from 
qusro, to inquire, to question. Quiz and quis? have also an 
undoubted connexion. 

Queer-soft, bad notes. 

Queer-street, " in QUEER STREET," in difficulty or in want 

Querier, a chimney-sweep who calls from house to house soliciting 

employment, formerly termed KNULLER, which see. 
Qui-hi, an English resident at Calcutta. Anglo-Indian. 
Quick Sticks, in a hurry, rapidly ; " to cut QUICK STICKS," to start ofi 

hurriedly, or without more ado. See CUT ONE'S STICK. 
Quid, or THICK UJJ a sovereign; "half a QUID." half a sovereign; 


QUIDS, money generally ; " QUID for a. QUOD," one good turn for 
another. The word is used by old French writers : 

" Des testamens qu'on dit le maistre 
De tnon fait n'aura QUID ne QUOD." 

Grand testament de Villon, 

Quid, a small piece of tobacco one mouthful. Quid est hoc ? asked one, 
tapping the swelled cheek of another ; Hoc est quid, promptly replied 
the other, exhibiting at the same time a "chaw" of the weed. CUD 
is probably a corruption. Derivation, O. F., or Norman, QUIDER, to 

Quid-nunc, an inquisitive person, always seeking for news. The words 
translated simply signify, " What now?" 

Quiet, " on the QUIET," clandestinely, so as to avoid observation, 
' ' under the rose." 

Quill-driver, a scrivener, a clerk, satirical phrase similar to "steel 
bar driver," a tailor. 

Quiller, a parasite, a person who sucks neatly through a quill. See 

Quilt, to thrash, or beat. 

Quisby, bankrupt, poverty-stricken. Amplification of QUEER. 

Quisi, roguish, low, obscene. Anglo- Chinese. 

Qui-tam, a solicitor. He who, i.e., " he who, as much for himself as for 
the King," seeks a conviction, the penalty for which goes half to the 
informer and half to the Crown. The term would, therefore, with 
greater propriety, be applied to a spy than to a solicitor. 

Quiz, a prying person, an odd fellow. Originally Oxford slang, but now 
general, and lately admitted into some dictionaries. See QUEER CUFFEN. 

Quiz, to pry, or joke ; to hoax. 

Quizzical, jocose, humorous. 

Quizzing-glaSS, an eyeglass. This was applied to the old single eye- 
glass, which was not stuck in the eye, as now, but was held in the 

Quockerwodger, a wooden toy figure which, when pulled by a string, 
jerks its limbs about. The term is used in a slang sense, to signify a 
pseudo-politician, one whose strings of action are pulled by somebody 

Quod, a prison, a lock-up ; QUODDED, put in prison. QUOD is really a 
shortening of quadrangle ; so to be QUODDED is to be within four walls. 
The expression is, however, seldom used now except to mean in prison- 
At Oxford, where it is spelt QUAD, the word has its original signifi- 

Quodger, a contraction, or corruption rather, of the Latin law phrase, 
QUO JURE ? by what law ? Legal. 

R. M. D., cash down, immediate payment. The initial letters of READY 
MONEY DOWN. Another version of this is P. Y. c. (pay your cash), 
often seen in the market quotations, as, "Meat fetched 6s. ^i. # 
stone, P. Y. c., and 6s. &/. for the account " 


Rabbit, when a person gets the worst of a bargain, he is said "to havt 
bought the RABBIT." From an old story about a man selling a cat to 
a foreigner for a rabbit. 

Eacket, a dodge, manoeuvre, exhibition ; a disturbance. 

Rackety, wild or noisy. 

Racks, the bones of a dead horse. Term used by horse-slaughterers. 

Radan, a married woman. Originally Gipsy, but now a term with 

English tramps. 

Rafe, or RALPH, a pawnbroker's duplicate. Norwich. 
Raff, a dirty, dissipated fellow ; RAFFISH, looking like a RAFF. 
Rag, to divide or share; "let's RAG IT," or "go RAGS," i.e., share it 

equally between us. Norwich. 
Rag, a bank-note. 
Rag and Famish, the Army and Navy Club. From Ensign RAG 

and Captain FAMISH, imaginary characters, out of whom Leech some 

years back obtained much amusement. 
Rag-Shop, a bank. 
Rag-splawger, a rich man. 

Ragamuffin, an ill-clad vagabond, a tatterdemalion. 
Rain napper, an umbrella. 
Raise the wind, to obtain credit, or money, generally by pawning 

or selling property, but not unusually by borrowing. Sometimes 

Raker, TO GO A, is, in racing parlance, to put more money than usual 

on a certain horse. "Going a RAKER" often leads to "coming a 

cropper. " 
Ramp, to hustle, to rob with violence, to levy blackmail in a ferocious 

manner ; to extort by means of threats. RAMPING is generally done 

in gangs. 
Rampage, TO BE ON THE, on the drink, on the loose. Dickens, in 

Great Expectations, refers to Mrs. Jo as being on the RAMPAGE when 

she is worse tempered than usual. 

Ramper, a ruffian of the most brutal description, who infests racecourses 
and similar places on welching expeditions during summer, and finds 
pleasure and profit in garrotte robberies during winter. 

Ramshackle, queer, rickety, knocked about, as standing corn is after a 
high wind. Corrupted from RAM-SHATTER, or possibly from RANSACK. 

RanchO, originally a Spanish- American word, signifying a hunting- 
lodge, or cattle-station, in a wood or desert far from the haunts of 
men. A hunting or fishing station in the Highlands or elsewhere. In 
Washington, with their accustomed ingenuity in corrupting words and 
meanings, the Americans use the appellation for a place of evil report. 
The word is generally pronounced RANCH now. 

Randals-man. See BILLY. 

Randan, a boat impelled by three rowers, the midship man sculling, and 
the bowman and strokesman rowing with oars. 


Random, three horses driven in line. See TANDEM, SUDDEN DEATH, 


Bandy, rampant, violent, warm. North. RANDY-BEGGAR, a gipsy tinker. 

Rank, to cheat. Modification of RAMP. 

Ranker, a commissioned officer in the army who has risen from th* 
ranks. Usually employed in a disparaging sense. Purely military. 
Also, among street folk, a corruption of RANK DUFFER. 

Ran-tan, " on the RAN-TAN," drunk. 

Rantipoll, a noisy rude girl, a madcap. 

Rap, a halfpenny; frequently used generically for money, thus: "I 
haven't a RAP," i.e., I have no money whatever; "I don't care a 
RAP," &c. Originally a species of counterfeit coin used for smali 
change in Ireland, against the use of which a proclamation was issued, 
5th May, 1737. Small copper or base metal coins are still called 
RAPPEN in the Swiss cantons. Irish robbers were formerly termed 


Rap, to utter rapidly and vehemently ; "he RAPPED out a volley of oaths." 

Rapping, enormous ; "a RAPPING big lie." 

Rapscallion, a low tattered wretch not worth a RAP. 

Raree-show, a collection of curiosities. 

Rat, a sneak, an informer, a turn-coat, one who changes his party for in- 
terest. The late Sir Robert Peel was called the RAT, or the TAMWORTH 
RATCATCHER, for altering his views on the Roman Catholic question. 
From RATS deserting vessels about to sink. The term is often used 
amongst printers to denote one who works under price. Old cant for 
a clergyman. 

Rat, TO SMELL A, to suspect something, to guess that there is something 

Rather 1 a ridiculous street exclamation synonymous with yes ; " Do you 
like fried chickens?" "RATHER!" "Are you going out of town?" 
" RATHER 1" Very often pronounced " RAYTHER 1" 

Rattening, the punishment inflicted on non-unionists by Sheffield 
grinders, through the instrumentality of " Mary Ann." See Parlia- 
mentary Inquiry Report on the subject. 

Rattlecap, an unsteady, volatile person. Generally applied to girls. 

Rattler, a cab, coach, or cart. Old Cant. 

Rattletrap, the mouth. Anything shaky and mean, but pretentious and 
vulgar, is said to belong to the RATTLETRAP order of things. 

Rattling, jolly, pleasant, well-appointed. " A RATTLING good spread" 
means an excellent repast, while a true friend is said to be a " RATTLINA 
good fellow." 

Raw, a tender point, or foible ; " to touch a man upon the RAW," is to 
irritate one by alluding to, or joking him on, anything on which he is 
peculiarly susceptible or " thin-skinned." Originally stable slang. 

" Liver and bacon, kidneys, ten pounds one I 
He thinks m RAW. I think I'm rather DONE." 

Phantftn Barter. 


Haw, uninitiated ; a novice. ^Old. Frequently JOHNNY RAW. 

Reach me downs, or HAND ME DOWNS, clothes bought at second- 
hand shops. From "REACH ME DOWN that, and let's see if it fits." 
In Houndsditch and other celebrated old clothes' marts, the goods are 
kept hanging on pegs so as to be well within view of intending buyers. 

Reader, a pocket-book ; "Touch him for his READER," i.e., rob him of 
his pocket-book. 

Ready, or READY GILT (maybe GELT), money. Used by Arbuthnot 
" Lord Strut was not very flush in READY." 

Ready-reckoners, the Highland regiments of the British army. 

Real jam, a sporting phrase, meaning anything exceptionally good. It 
is said to be REAL JAM for those who back a horse at a long price, 
when the animal wins, or comes to a short figure. 

Recent incision, the busy thoroughfare on the Surrey side of the 
Thames, known to sober people as the New Cut. Even this latter 
name has now been changed if indeed the place ever was so called 
properly. Although to the general public the street which runs from 
opposite Rowland Hill's Chapel to Westminster Bridge Road is known 
as the New Cut, its name to the Board of Works is Lower Marsh. 

Redge, gold. 

Red herring, a soldier. The terms are exchangeable, the fish being 
often called a "soldier." 

Red lane, the throat. 

Red liner, an officer of the Mendicity Society. 

Red rag, the tongue. 

Red un, a gold watch. 

Redtape, official routine. A term which was much in vogue during the 
Crimean campaign, so famous for War Office blunderings. 

Regulars, a thief's fair share of plunder. 

Reliever, a coat worn in turn by any party of poor devils whose ward- 
robes are in pawn. 

Relieving Officer, a significant term for a father. University. 

Renage, to revoke, a word used in Ireland at the game of five-card. 

Rench, vulgar pronunciation of RINSE. " (W)RENCH your mouth out," 
said a fashionable dentist one day. 

Re-raw, "on the RE-RAW," tipsy or drunk. 

Resurrection pie, once a school but now a common phrase, used in re- 
ference to a pie supposed to be made of the scraps and leavings that 
have appeared before. 

Ret, an abbreviation of the word REITERATION, used to denote tl 
forme which, in a printing-office, backs or perfects paper alre 
printed on one side. 

Rhino, ready money. Old. 

" Some as I know, 
Have parted with their ready RINO." 

The Seaman's Adieu, Old Ballad, 167* 


Rhinoceral, rich, wealthy, abounding in RHINO. At first sound it 

would seem as though it meant a man abounding in rhinoceroses. 
Rib, a wife. Derivation, of course, Biblical. 
Ribbon, gin, or other spirits. Modification of white satin. 
Ribbons, the reins. "To handle the RIBBONS," to drive. 
Ribroast, to beat till the ribs are sore.Otd; but still in use > 

" And he departs, not meanly boasting 
Of his magnificent RIBROASTING." Hnditra*. 

Rich, spicy ; also used in the sense of "too much of a good thing;" "& 
RICH idea," one too absurd or unreasonable to be adopted. 

Richard, a dictionary. See DICK. 

Ride, " to RIDE the high horse," or " RIDE roughshod over one," to be 

overbearing or oppressive ; "to RIDE the black donkey, " to be in an 

ill humour. 

Rider, in a University examination, a problem or question appended to 
another, as directly arising from or dependent on it ; beginning to 
be generally used for any corollary or position which naturally arises 
from any previous statement or evidence. 

Rider, a supplementary clause in a document 

Riff-raff, low, vulgar rabble. 

Rig, or trick, "spree," or performance ; "run a RIG," to play a trick. 
See JOHN GILPIN. " RIG the market," in reality to play tricks with it, 
a mercantile slang phrase often used in the newspapers. 

Rigged, " well RIGGED," well dressed. Old Slang, in use in 1736. See 
alleys Dictionary. Sea. 

Rigging, a process well known in connexion with sales by auction, by 
which articles are secured at prices considerably below their real value. 
See KNOCK-OUTS. To RIG the market is to do similar business on a 
larger scale for the purpose of affecting the supplies, and thereby in- 
creasing the profits on an original purchase of the goods thus made 

Right as ninepence, or NICE AS NINEPENCE (possible corruption of 
NINE-PINS), quite right, exactly right, comfortable. See NINEPENCE. 

Right you are, a phrase implying entire acquiescence in what has been 
said or done. The expression is singularly frequent and general 
amongst the lower and middle classes of the metropolis. 

Rights, " to have one TO RIGHTS," to be even with him, to serve him 
out properly. " To RIGHTS" is also an ejaculation signifying satisfac- 
tion of the highest order. 

Rigmarole, a prolix story. 

Rile, to offend, to render very cross, irritated, or Texed. Properly, to 
render liquor turbid. 

Ring, to change; "RINGING castors," changing hats; "to RING the 
changes," in low life means to change bad money for good ; in respect- 


able society the phrase is sometimes employed to denote that the 
aggressor has been paid back in his own coin, as in practical joking, 
when the laugh is turned against the jester. The expression origi- 
nally came from the belfry. 

Ring, a generic term given to horse-racing and pugilism, the latter was 
sometimes termed the PRIZE-RING. From the rings used for betting 
and fighting in, respectively. 

Ring, formerly "to go through the RING," to take advantage of the In- 
solvency Act, or be "whitewashed." Now obsolete. 

Ring, the open space in front of a racecourse stand, which is used for 
betting purposes. Betting men are nowadays known as members of 
the ring, especially if they are in the habit of attending race-meetings. 
RING, in America, is a combination of speculators whose object is to 
force the market for their own especial benefit without any regard to 
order or decency. We have similar arrangements here, but hitherto 
no one word has fairly described them. 

Ringdropping, is a pursuit to which London "magsmen" and "street- 
muggers" are prone. A ring or other spurious article is supposed to 
be found just in front of a "soft-looking party," and he or she is tempted 
to buy it at less than half its supposed value. 

Rip, a rake, " an old RIP," an old libertine, or a debauchee. Corruption 


Rip, to go at a rare pace. This is an American term, and often means to 

burst up. " Let her RIP, I'm insured." 
Ripper, a first-rate man or article. Provincial. 
Ripping, excellent, very good. Equivalent to "stunning." 
Rise, " to take a RISE out of a person." A metaphoi from fly-fishing, 

the silly fish RISING to be caught by an artificial fly ; to mortify, out- 

wit, or cheat him, by superior cunning. 

"There is only one thing, unfortunately, of which Oxford men are economical, and 
that is, their University experience. They not only think it fair that Freshmen 
should go through their ordeal unaided, but many have a sweet satisfaction 
jn their distresses, and even busy themselves in obtaining elevations, or, as 
it is vulgarly termed, in ' getting RISES out of them.'" Hints to Freshmen, 
Oxford, 1843. 

Rise, or raise, a Barney, to collect a mob ; term used by patterers 
and " schwassle-box " (Punch and Judy) men. 

Roarer, a broken-winded horse ; or, in the more polite speech of the 
stable, " a high blower." ROARING, as applied to horses, is often 
termed " talking" by turf-men. It is often said delicately by 
sporting writers, when speaking of a broken-winded racehorse, that 
" he makes a noise." 

Roaring trade, a very successful business. Shopkeeper/ Slang. 

Roast, to expose a person to a running fire of jokes for the amusement and 
with the assistance of a whole company. A performance not in- 
dulged in by gentlemen. QUIZZING is done by a single person only. 

Robin redbreast, the ancient Bow Street runner. So called from the 
colour of his waistcoat. 


Rock-a-low, an overcoat. Corruption of the French, ROQUELAURB. 
Rocked, "he's only HALF-ROCKED," &., half-witted. See HALF- 

Rogue's yarn, a thread of red or blue worsted, worked into the ropes 
manufactured in the Government dockyards, to identify them if stolen. 
Also a blue thread worked into canvas, for the same purpose. 
Roll Of SHOW, a piece of linen, or bundle of underclothing. 
Romany, a gipsy, or the gipsy language ; the speech of the Roma or 
Zincali. Spanish. Gipsy. " Can you patter ROMANY?" i.e., can you 
talk " black," or gipsy lingo ? 

Rook, a cheat, or tricky gambler; the opposite of "pigeon." 
Rook, to cheat, to play "rook" to another's "pigeon." 
Rook, a clergyman, not only from his black attire, but also, perhaps, 
from the old nursery favourite, the History of Cock Robin. 
" I. says the ROOK, 
With my little book, 
I'll be the parson." 

Rookery, a low neighbourhood inhabited by dirty Irish and thieves 
as St Giles's ROOKERY. Old. In military slang that part of the 
barracks occupied by subalterns, often by no means a pattern of good 

Rooky, rascally, rakish, scampish. 

Roost, synonymous with PERCH, which see. 

Rooster, a cock, whether bantam, game, barndoor, or of any other kind. 
This is an Americanism which obtains full currency on the other side 
of the Atlantic, though its use would infer that hens do not roost. As 
the outcome of transpontine delicacy it must, however, be respected. 

Rooter, any thing good, or of a prime quality ; "that is a ROOTER," i.e., 
a first-rate one of the sort. 

Rope, to lose a race of any kind purposely, to swindle one's backers 01 
the public by means of a " cross or pre-arranged race, in which the best 
man or best horse is made to ROPE, or run behind. 

Roper, MISTRESS, "to marry MRS. ROPER " is to enlist in the Royal 

Ropes, the ways of London lower life. "To know the ROPES," is to be 
conversant with the minutiae of metropolitan dodges, as regards both 
the streets and the sporting world. 

Roping, the act of pulling or restraining a horse, by its rider, to prevent 
its winning a race a trick not unfrequently practised on the turf. Also 
when a pedestrian or other athlete loses where he should have won, 
according to his backer's calculations, he is accused of E OPING. 

Rose, "under the ROSE" (frequently used in its Latin form, sub rosd), 
i.e., under the obligation of silence and secrecy, of which the rose was 
anciently an emblem, perhaps, as Sir Thomas Browne remarks, from 
the closeness with which its petals are enfolded in the bud. The Rose 
of Venus was given, says the classic legend, to Harpocrates, the God 
of Silence, by Cupid, as a bribe to keep silent about the goddess's 


amours. It was commonly sculptured on the ceilings of banqueting 
rooms, as a sign that what was said in free conversation there was not 
afterwards to be divulged ; and about 1526 was placed over the Roman 
confessionals as an emblem of secrecy. The White Rose was also an 
emblem of the Pretender, whose health, as king, his secret adherents 
used to drink "under the ROSE." 

Rosin, beer or other drink given to musicians at a dancing party. 
Rosin-the-bow, a fiddler. From a famous old song of that name. 
Hot, nonsense, anything bad, disagreeable, or useless. 
Rot-gut, bad, small beer. See BUMCLINK. In America, cheap whisky. 
Hough., bad ; "ROUGH fish," bad or stinking fish. Billingsgate. 
Rough-it, to put up with chance entertainment, to take pot-luck and 
what accommodation "turns up," without sighing for better. 

Roughs, coarse, or vulgar men. By many thought to be RUFF, corruption 


Rouleau, a packet of sovereigns. Gaming. 
Round, to tell tales, to SPLIT, which see; "to ROUND on a man," to 

swear to him as being the person, &c. Synonymous with BUFF, 

which see. Also to turn round upon and abuse or rate. Shakspeare 

has ROUNDING, whispering. 
Round, "ROUND dealing," honest trading ; " ROUND sum," a large sum. 

Synonymous also, in a slang sense, with SQUARE, which see. 
Round (in the language of the street), the beat or usual walk of a cos- 

termonger to sell his stock. A term used by street folk generally. 

" Watchmen, sometimes they made their sallies, 
And walk'd their ROUNDS through streets and allies." 

Ned Ward 's Vulgus Britannic**, I7x 

The word " beat" has, so far as our modern guardians are concerned, 
deposed " round." 

Round robin, a petition, or paper of remonstrance, with the signatures 
written in a circle, to prevent the first signer, or ringleader, from 
being discovered. 

Round un, an unblushingly given and well-proportioned lie. Some- 
times known as a " whacker. " 

Roundabout, a large swing with four compartments, each the size, and 
very much the shape, of the body of a cart, capable of seating six or 
eight boys and girls, erected in a high frame, and turned round by 
men at a windlass. Fairs and merry-makings generally abound with 
these swings. The frames take to pieces, and are carried in vans fr^m 
fair to fair by miserable horses. 

Roundem, a button. 

Row, "the Row," i.e., Paternoster Row. The notorious Holywell Street 
is now called by its denizens " Bookseller's Row." 

Bow, a noisy disturbance, tumult, or trouble. Originally Cambridge, now 
universal. Seventy years ago it was written ROUE, which would al- 
most indicate a French origin, from roue, a profligate or disturber of the 


peace. Vide George Parker's Life's Painter, 1789, p. 122. This is, 

however, very unlikely, as the derivation of the French word shows. 
Rowdy, money. In America, a ruffian, a brawler, a "rough." Rowdyism 

is the state of being of New York roughs and loafers. 
Rowdy-dow, low, vulgar "not the CHEESE," or thing. 
Hub, a quarrel or impediment ; " there's the RUB," i.e., that is the dim 

culty. Shakspeare and L 'Estrange. 
Rubbed out, dead, a melancholy expression, of late frequently used in 

fashionable novels. RUBBED OUT is synonymous with WIPED OUT, 

which see. 

Rubber, a term at whist, &c., the best of three games. 
Ruck, the undistinguished crowd ; " to come in with the RUCK," to 
arrive at the winning-post among the thick of the unplaced horses. 
Jfacing term. 

Ruction, an Irish row. A faction fight. 
Euggy, fusty, frowsy. 

Rule. " To run the RULE over," is, among thieves, to try all a person's 
pockets quietly, as done by themselves, or to search any one thoroughly, 
as at the police-station- 
Rule the roast, to be at the head of affairs, to be " cock of the walk." 
Rum, like its opposite, QUEER, was formerly a much-used prefix, signify- 
ing fine, good, gallant, or valuable ; perhaps in some way connected 
with ROME. Nowadays it means indifferent, bad, or questionable, 
and we often hear even persons in polite society use such a phrase as, 
" What a RUM fellow he is, to be sure," in speaking of a man of sin- 
gular habits or appearance. The term, from its frequent use, long 
since claimed a place in our dictionaries ; but, with the exception of 
Johnson, who says RUM, a cant word for a clergyman (1), no lexico- 
grapher has deigned to notice it. 

" Thus RUMLY floor'd, the kind Acestes ran, 
And pitying, raised from earth the game old man." 

Virgil's sEneid, book v., Translation by Thomas Moore. 

Rum cull, the manager of a theatre, generally the master of a travelling 

Rumbler, a four-wheeled cab. Not so common as BOUNDER. See 


Rumbowling, anything inferior or adulterated. Sea. 

Rumbumptious, haughty, pugilistic, 

Rumbustious, or RUMBUSTICAL, pompous, haughty, boisterous, careless 

of the comfort of others. 
Rumgumption, or GUMPTION, knowledge, capacity, capability, 

hence, RUMGUMPTIOUS, knowing, wide-awake, forward, positive, pert, 

Rum-mizzler, Seven Dials cant for a person who is clever at making his 

escape, or getting out of a difficulty. 
Rump, to turn the back upon any one. A still more decided "cut direct" 

than the "cold shoulder." 


Rumpus, a noise, disturbance, a "row." 

Rum-slim, or RUM SLING, rum punch. 

Rumy, a good woman or girl. Gipsy Cant. In the Continental Gipsy, 
ROMI, a woman, a wife, is the feminine of RO, a man. 

Run (good or bad), the success or duration of a piece's performance. 

Run, to comprehend, &c. ; " I don't RUN to it," i.e., I can't do it, I don't 
understand ; also not money enough, as, " I should like to, but it wont 
RUN to it." 

Run, "to get the RUN upon any person," to have the upper hand, or be 
able to laugh at him. RUN down, to abuse or backbite any one j to 
"lord it," or "drive over'' him. Originally stable slang. 

Run for the money, TO HAVE A, to have a start given in with a bet. 
As 20 to I against Doncaster, with a RUN given. See P.p. To have a 
RUN FOR ONE'S MONEY is also to have a good determined struggle 
for anything. 

Run-in, to lock up in the station-house. The police are very fond of 
threatening to RUN-IN any person to whom they may take exception, 
and, as recent revelations have shown, are by no means averse from 
putting their threats into execution. 

Running patterer, a street seller who runs or moves briskly along, 
calling aloud his wares. 

Running stationer, a hawker of books, ballads, dying speeches, and 
newspapers. Persons of this class formerly used to run with news- 
papers, blowing a horn, when they were sometimes termed FLYING 
STATIONERS. Nowadays, in the event of any political or social dis- 
turbance, the miserable relics of these peripatetic newsmen bawl the 
heads of the telegram or information in quiet London thoroughfares, to 
the disturbance of the residents. The race is very nearly extinct, the 
evening-paper boys having run them to earth. 

Rush, to come upon suddenly, generally for the purpose of borrowing. 
To "give a man the RUSH," is to spunge upon him all day, and then 
borrow money at the finish, or pursue some such similar mode of 

Rush, "doing it on the RUSH," running away, or making off. 

Rust, "to nab the RUST," to take offence. RUSTY, cross, ill-tempered, 
morose ; not able to go through life like a person of easy and ' ' polished" 

Rustication, the sending of an offender from the University for one 
term or more, thus hindering his qualifying for a degree. 

Rusty guts, a blunt, rough, old fellow. Corruption of RUSTICUS. 

Rye. Gipsy term for a young man. In the same parlance " rawnie " is a 
young woman. 

Sack, to "get the SACK," to be discharged by an employer. Varied it 
the North of England to "get the BAG." In London it is sometime! 
spoken of as " getting the EMPTY." It is common now to speak a 
" getting the BULLET, an evident play on the word discharge. 


Sad dog, a merry fellow, a joker, a " gay" or " fast " man. 

Saddle, an additional charge made by the manager to a performer upon 

his benefit night. Theatrical. 
Safe, trusty, worthy of confidence. A SAFE card is a man who knows 

" what's o'clock." A SAFE man among betters is one who is sure to 

fulfil his engagements. 

Safe un, a horse which will not run, or will not try, in a race. The book- 
makers in London have the information sent them by the touts in their 
pay, and lay against the SAFE UN, who is also called a " stiff un," a 
"dead un," or a "shtumer," as often as they can, irrespective of the state 
of their books. Sometimes a SAFE UN, will win, owing to the owner or 
trainer having, for various reasons, altered his mind. Such a result then 
goes to prove the " glorious uncertainty of the turf," a phrase in very 
common use among sporting writers whenever a favourite is beaten, or 
whenever a horse runs slow one day and loses, and very fast the next 
day and wins. 

Sails, nickname for the sail-maker on board ship. 

St. Martin's lace, imitation gold lace ; stage tinsel. 

Saint Monday, a holiday most religiously observed by journeymen 
shoemakers and other mechanics. An Irishman observed that this 
saint's anniversary happened every week. In some parts of the country 
Monday is termed Cobblers' Sunday. 

Sal, asalary. Theatrical. 

Salaam, a compliment or salutation. Anglo-Indian. 

Salamander, a street acrobat and juggler who eats fire. 

Saloop, SALEP, or SALOP, a greasy-looking beverage, formerly sold on 
stalls at early morning, prepared from a powder made of the root of 
the Orchis mascula, or Red-handed Orchis. Coffee-stands have super- 
seded SALOOP stalls ; but, in addition to other writers, Charles Lamb, 
in one of his papers, has left some account of this drinkable, which he 
says was of all preparations the most grateful to the stomachs of young 
chimney-sweeps. The present generation has no knowledge of this 
drink, except that derived from books. The word " slops" as applied 
to weak, warm drink is very likely derived from the Cockney pro- 
nunciation of SALOOP. 

Salt, a sailor. 

Salt, " it's rather too SALT," said of an extravagant hotel bill. Also, a 
sort of black mail or tribute levied on visitors or travellers by the Eton 
boys, at their triennial festival called the "Montem," by ancient 
custom and privileges. It is now abolished. A periodical published 
at Eton many years ago for circulation amongst the boys was called 
" The SALT-&U-." When a person about to sell a business connexion 
makes fictitious entries in the books of accounts, to simulate that a 
much more profitable trade is carried on than there really is, he is 
said to SALT the books SALTING and COOKING being somewhat similar 
operations. At the gold diggings of Australia, miners sometimes SALT 
in unproductive hole by sprinkling a few grains of gold-dust aver it, 


and thus obtain a good price from a "green hand." Unpromising 
speculations are frequently thus SALTED to entrap the unwary, the 
wildest ideas being rendered palatable cum grano salts. And though 
old birds are not readily caught by chaff, the efficacy of SALT iu bird- 
catching, so far as the young are concerned, is proverbial. 

Salt-box, the condemned cell in Newgate. 

Salt junk, navy salt beef. See OLD HORSE. 

Salteo, a penny. Pence, &c., are thus reckoned : 

ONEY SALTEE, a penny, from the Italian, UNO SOLDO. 

TRAY SALTEE, threepence . TRE SOLDI. 



SAY SALTEE, sixpence . . SEI SOLDI. 


sevenpence . 


ninepence .... 


SALTEE, tenpence 


ONEY SALTEE, elevenpence. . 
ONEY BEONG, one shilling. 
A BEONG SAY SALTEE, one shilling and sixpence. 
DOOE BEONG SAY SALTEE, or MADZA CAROON, half-a-crown, or two 

shillings and sixpence. 

%* This curious list of numerals in use among the London street 
folk is, strange as it may seem, derived from the Lingua Franca, or 
bastard Italian, of the Mediterranean seaports, of which other ex- 
amples may be found in the pages of this Dictionary. SALTEE, the 
cant term used by the costermongers and others for a penny, is no 
other than the Italian, SOLDO (plural, SOLDI), and the numerals as 
may be seen by the Italian equivalents are a tolerably close imita- 
tion of the originals. After the number six, a curious variation occurs, 
which is peculiar to the London cant, seven being reckoned as SAY 
ONEY, six-one, SAY DOOE, six-two = 8, and so on. DACHA is per- 
haps from the Greek Itta, ten, which, in the Constantinopolitan 
Lingua Franca, is likely enough to have been substituted for the Italian. 
MADZA is clearly the Italian MEZZA. The origin of BEONG has not 
yet been discovered, unless it be the French BIEN, the application of 
which to a shilling is not so evident ; but amongst costermongers and 
other street folk it is quite immaterial what foreign tongue contributes 
to their secret language. Providing the tenns are unknown to the 
police and the public generally, they care not a rush whether the polite 
French, the gay Spaniards, or the cloudy Germans help to swell their 
vocabulary. The numbers of low foreigners, however, dragging out a 
miserable existence in our crowded neighbourhoods, organ grinders 







and image sellers, foreign seamen from the vessels in the river, and our 
own connexion with Malta and the Ionian Isles, may explain, to a 
certain extent, the phenomenon of these Southern phrases in the 
mouths of costers and tramps. Professor Ascoli, in his Studj Critici, 
absurdly enough derives these words from the ancient commercial 
importance of Italian settlers in England, when they gave a name to 
Lombard Street 1 

Salve, praise, flattery, chaff. 

Sam, i.e., DICKY-SAM, a native of Liverpool. 

Sam, to " stand SAM," to pay for refreshment or drink, to stand paymaster 
for anything. An Americanism, originating in the letters U.S. on the 
knapsacks of the United States' soldiers, which letters were jocularly 
said to be the initials of Uncle Sam (the Government), who pays for 
all. In use in this country as early as 1827. 

Sammy, a stupid fellow. 

Sampan, a small boat. Anglo-Chinese. 

Samshoo, a fiery, noxious spirit, distilled from rice. Spirits generally. 

Samson and Abel, a group of wrestlers in the centre of Brasenose quad- 
rangle. Some said it represented Samson killing a Philistine ; others 
Cain killing Abel. So the matter was compromised as above. Oxford 

Sandwich., a human advertising medium, placed between two boards 
strapped, one on his breast the other on his shoulders. A " toad in 
the hole " is the term applied to the same individual when his person 
is confined by a four-sided box. A gentleman with a lady on each arm 
is sometimes called a SANDWICH. The French phrase for this kind of 
SANDWICH, I'dne & deux paunttrcs, is expressive. 

Sanguinary James, a raw sheep's-head. Sef BLOODY JEMMY. 

Sank work, tailors' phrase for soldiers' clothes. Perhaps from the Norman 
SANC, blood, in allusion either to the soldier's calling, or the colour of 
his coat. 

Sap, or SAPSCULL, a poor green simpleton, with no heart for work. 

Sappy, soft, foolish, namby-pamby, milk-and- watery. "It's such a 
SAPPY book." 

Satin, gin ; "a yard of SATIN," a glass of gin. Term used by females 
ori make-believe errands, when the real object of their departure from 
home is to replenish the private bottle. With servants the words 
" tape" and "ribbon" are more common, the purchase of these feminine 
requirements being the general excuse for asking to "run out for a 
little while." See WHITE SATIN. 

Saucebox, a pert young person. In low life it also signifies the mouth. 

Save, to give part of one bet for part of another. A. and B. have backed 
different horses, and they agree that in the event of either one winning 
he shall give the other, say, .5. This is called "SAVING a fiver," and 
generally is done when scratchings and knockings-out have left the 
field so that one of the two speculators must be a winner. The practice 
also obtains much in competitions decided in heats or rounds, in the 


course of which backers and layers comparing their prospects often 
" SAVE a bit" with each other. Saving is, therefore, a form of hedging. 

Saveloy, a sausage of bread and chopped beef smoked, a minor kind of 
POLONY, which see. 

Savvey, to know; "do you SAVVEY that?" Spanish, SABE. In the 
niggerand Anglo- Chinese patois, this is SABBY, " me no SABBY." It is 
a general word among the lower classes all over the world. It also 
means acuteness or cleverness ; as, " That fellow has plenty of SAVVEY." 

Saw, a term at whist. A SAW is established when two partners alter- 
nately trump a suit, played to each other for the express purpose. 

Saw your timber, " be off !" equivalent to "cut your stick." Occasion- 
ally varied, with mock refinement, to "amputate your mahogany." 
See CUT. 

Sawbones, a surgeon. 

Sawney, or SANDY, a Scotchman. Corruption of Alexander. 

Sawney, a simpleton ; a gaping, awkward lout. 

Sawney, bacon. SAWNEY HUNTER, one who steals bacon. 

Scab, aworthless'person. Old. Shakspeare uses "scald" in[a similar sense. 

Scab -raiser, a drummer in the army, so called from one of the duties 
formerly pertaining to that office, viz., inflicting corporal punishment 
on the soldiers. Military. 

Scabby neck, a native of Denmark. Sea. 

Scabby-sheep, epithet applied by the vulgar to a person who has been 
in questionable society, or under unholy influence, and become tainted. 
Also a mean disreputable fellow. 

Scaldmm dodge, a dodge in use among begging impostors of burning 
the body with a mixture of acids and gunpowder, so as to suit the hues 
and complexions of any accident to be deplored by a confiding public. 

Scaly, shabby, or mean. Perhaps anything which betokens the presence 
of the " Old Serpent," or it may be a variation of " fishy." 

Soamander, to wander about without a settled purpose ; possibly in 
allusion to the winding course of the Homeric river of that name. 

Scammered, drunk. 

Scamp, a graceless fellow, a rascal ; a wandering vagabond ; scamping 
was formerly the cant term for plundering and thieving. A ROYAL- 
SCAMP was a highwayman, whilst a FOOT-SCAMP was an ordinary thief 
with nothing but his legs to trust to in case of an attempt at capture. 
Some have derived SCAMP from qui ex campo exit, one who leaves the 
field, a deserter. 

Scamp to give short measure or quantity ; applied to dishonest con- 
tractors. Also to hurry through a task in a way which precludes the 
possibility of its being done well. Probably the same as SKIMP and 

Scandal- water, tea; from old maids' tea-parties being generally 
focus for scandal. 

Scaramouch, properly a tumbler, or SALTIMBANCO. Also a disi 
putable fellow. 


Scarborough-warning, a warning given too late to be taken ad- 
vantage of. When a person is driven over, and then told to keep out 
of the way, he receives SCARBOROUGH-WARNING. Fuller says the 
proverb alludes to an event which happened at that place in 1557, 
when Thomas Stafford seized upon Scarborough Castle before the 
townsmen had the least notice of his approach. 

Scarce, TO MAKE ONESELF ; to be off ; to decamp. 

Scarlet fever, the desire felt by young ladies to flirt with officers in 
preference to civilians. 

Scarlet-town, Reading, in Berkshire. As the name of this place is 
pronounced Redding, SCARLET-TOWN is probably a rude pun upon it. 

Scarper, to run away ; Spanish, ESCAPAR, to escape, make off ; Italian, 
SCAPPARE. " SCARPER with the feeley of the donna of the carzey," to 
run away with the daughter of the landlady of the house ; almost 
Seven Dials and Prison Cant, from the Lingua Franca. 

Schism-shop, a Dissenters' meeting-house. University. 

Schofel, bad money. See SHOFUL. 

School, a knot of men or boys ; generally a body of idlers or street gam- 
blers. Also, two or more " patterers" working together in the streets. 

Schroff, a banker, treasurer, or confidential clerk. Anglo-Indian. 

Schwassle box, the street arrangement for Punch and Judy. See 


Sconce, the head ; judgment, sense. Dutch. 

Sconce, to fine. Used by Dons as well as undergrade The Dons fined 
or SCONCED for small offences ; e.g., five shillings for wearing a coloured 
coat in hall at dinner-time. Among undergrads a pun, or an oath, or 
an indecent remark, was SCONCED by the head of the table. If the 
offender could, however, floor the tankard of beer which he was 
SCONCED, he could retort on his SCONCER to the extent of twice the 
amount he was SCONCED in. Oxford University. 

Score, a reckoning, "to run up a SCORE at a public-house," to obtain 
credit there until pay-day, or a fixed time, when the debt must be 
"wiped off." From the old practice of scoring a tippler's indebtedness 
on the inside of a public-house door. 

Scorf, to eat voraciously. 

Scot, a quantity of anything, a lot, a share. Anglo-Saxon, SCEAT, pro- 
nounced SHOT. 

Scot, temper, or passion, from the irascible temperament of the Scotch ; 
" Oh ! what a SCOT he was in," i.e., what temper he showed. 

Scotch COflfee, biscuits toasted and boiled in water. A gross calumny 
on the much-enduring Scotians ; a supposed joke on their parsimony. 

Scotch fiddle, the itch ; "to play the SCOTCH FIDDLE," to work the 
index finger of the right hand like a fiddlestick between the index and 
rvddle finger of the left. This provokes a Scotchman in the highest 



degree, as it implies that he is afflicted with the itch. It is supposed 
that a continuous oatmeal diet is productive of cutaneous affection. 

Scotch greys, lice. Our northern neighbours were calumniously re- 
ported, in the "good old times" of ignorance and prejudice, to be 
peculiarly liable to cutaneous eruptions and parasites. 

Scotches, the legs ; also synonymous with notches. 

Scout, a college valet, or waiter. Oxford. See GYP. 

Scout, the male servant, who generally has a staircase under his charge, 
and waits on the men in each set of rooms. The female servant (not 
unfrequently his wife or daughter) is the bedmaker. University. 

Scrag, the neck. Old Cant. Scotch, CRAIG. Still used by butchers. 
Hence, SCRAG, to hang by the neck, and SCRAGGING, an execution, 
also Old Cant. 

Scran, pieces of meat, broken victuals. Formerly the reckoning at a 
public-house. SCRANNING, or ' ' out on the SCRAN, " begging for broken 
victuals. Also, an Irish malediction of a mild sort, " Bad SCRAN to 
yer !" i.e., bad food to you. 

Scran-bag, a soldier's haversack. Military Slang. 

Scrap, to fight. Also used as a substantive. Prize-fighters are often 
known as SCRAPPERS. 

Scrape, a difficulty ; SCRAPE, low wit for a shave. 

Scrape, cheap butter ; also butter laid on bread in the thinnest possible 
manner, as though it had been laid on and scraped off again. " Bread 
and SCRAPE," the bread and butter issued to schoolboys, so called 
from the manner in which the butter is laid on. 

Scratch, an imaginary meeting-point in a fight, or verbal contest ; 
"coming up to the SCRATCH," preparing to fight literally approach- 
ing the line which used to be chalked on the ground to divide the ring. 
According to the rules of the prize ring, the toe should be placed at 
the SCRATCH, so the phrase often is " toeing the SCRATCH." 

Scratch, " no great SCRATCH," of little worth. 

Scratch, to strike a horse's name out of the list of runners in a par- 
ticular race. " Tomboy was SCRATCHED for the Derby at 10 a.rn. on 
Wednesday, from which period all bets made in reference to him 
are void." See P.P. Turf. One of Boz's characters asks whether 
horses are " really made more lively by being SCRATCHED." 

Bcratch-race (on the turf), a race at which the horses run at catch 
weights, a race without restrictions. In boating, a race in which the 
crew are picked up anyhow. A SCRATCH crew is a crew of all sorts. 

Screaming, first-rate, splendid. Believed to have been first used in the 
Adelphi play-bills; "a SCREAMING farce," one calculated to make 
the audience scream with laughter. Now a general expression. 

Screed, an illogical or badly-written article or paper upon any subject 

Screeve, a letter, a begging petition. 

Screeve, to write, or devise ; " to SCREEVE a fakement," to concoct, of 
write, a begging letter, or other impostor's document. From the 
Dutch, SCHRYVEN ; German, SCHREIBKN, to write. 


Screever, a man who draws with coloured chalks on the pavement figures 
of our Saviour crowned with thorns, specimens of elaborate writing, 
thunderstorms, ships on fire, &c. The men who attend these pave- 
ment chalking'', and receive halfpence and sixpences from the admirers 
of street art, are not always the draughtsmen. The artist or SCREEVER 
draws, perhaps, in half-a-dozen places in the course of a morning, and 
rents the spots out to as many cadaverous-looking men, who, when 
any one looks hard at them, will commence to dabble clumsily with 
the short pieces of chalks they always keep at hand. There are 
impostors of this kind in higher walks of art. 

Screw, an unsound or broken-clown horse, that requires both whip and 
spur to get him along. So called from the screw-like manner in which 
his ribs generally show through the skin. 

Screw, a mean or stingy person. 

Screw, salary, or wages. 

Screw, "to put on the SCREW," to limit one's credit, to be more exact 
and precise ; "to put under the SCREW ;" to compel, to coerce, to in- 
fluence by strong pressure. 

Screw, a small packet of tobacco. A " twist" of the " weed." 

Screw, a kay skeleton, or otherwise. 

Screw, a turnkey. 

Screw loose. When friends become cold and distant towards each other, 
it is said there is a SCREW LOOSE betwixt them ; the same phrase is 
also used when anything goes wrong with a person's credit or reputa- 

Screwed, intoxicated or drunk. 

Scrimmage, or SCRUMMAGE, a disturbance or row. Ancient. Probably 
a corruption of SKIRMISH. 

Scrimshaw. Anything made by sailors for themselves in their leisure 
hours at sea is termed SCRIMSHAW-WORK. 

Scrouge, to crowd or squeeze. Wiltshire. 

Scruff the back part of the neck seized by the adversary in an encounter. 
" I seized him by the SCRUFF of the neck, and chucked him out." 
Originally SCURF. 

Scrumptious, nice, particular, beautiful. 

Scufter, a policeman. North Country. 

Scull, or SKULL, the head, or master of a college. University, but nearrf 
obsolete ; the gallery, however, in St. Mary's (the Oxford University 
church), where the " Heads of Houses" sit in solemn state, is still 
nicknamed the " Golgotha" by the undergraduates. 

Scurf, a mean fellow. Literally a scurvy fellow. 

Sea-COnnie, the steersman of an Indian ship. By the insurance laws 
he must be either a PYAH Portuguese, a European, or a Manilla man, 
Lascars not being allowed to be helmsmen. 

Sea-COOk, "son of a SEA-COOK," an opprobrious phrase used on board 
ship, differing from "son of a gun," which u generally used ad- 
miringly or approvingly 


Seals, a religious slang term for converts. Also a Mormon term foi 
wives. See OWNED. 

See. Like "go" and "do," this useful verb has long been supplemented 
with a slang or unauthorized meaning. In street parlance, " to SEE" 
is to know or believe ; "I don't SEE that," i.e., "I don't put faith in 
what you offer, or I know what you say to be untrue. " 

See it out, to stay out late or early, and see the gas put out. Also to 
complete an undertaking. 

See the king. See ELEPHANT. 

Seedy, worn-out, poverty-stricken, used-up, shabby. Metaphorical ex- 
pression from the appearance of flowers when off bloom and runninf 
to SEED ; hence said of one who wears clothes until they crack and 
become shabby. " How SEEDY he looks," said of any man whose clothes 
are worn threadbare, with greasy facings, and hat brightened up by 
perspiration and continual polishing and wetting. When a man's 
coat begins to look worn-out and shabby he is said to look SEEDY and 
ready for cutting. This term has been in common use for nearly two 
centuries, and latterly has found its way into most dictionaries. For- 
merly slang, it is now a recognised word, and one' of the most expres- 
sive in the English language. The French are always amused with it, 
they having no similar term. 

" Oh, let my hat be e'er sac brown, 
My coat be e'er sae SEEDY, O ! 
My whole turn-out scarce worth a crown, 
Like gents well-bred, but needy, O !" 

Fisher's Garland fr 1835. 

Seeley's pigs, blocks of iron in Government dockyards. Mr. Seeley, 
M.P., was the first to call attention in the House of Commons to the 
scandalous waste of pig-iron in the dockyards. Some of the yards 
were found to be half paved with blocks of metal, which were thence 
called " SEELEY'S PIGS." 

Boll, a deception, or disappointment ; also a lying joke. 

Bell, to deceive, swindle, or play a practical joke upon a person. A sham 
is a SELL in street parlance. "SOLD again, and got the money," a 
patterer cries after having successfully deceived somebody. Shakspeare 
uses SELLING in a similar sense, viz., blinding or deceiving. 

Sensation, a quartern of gin. 

Serene, all right; "it's all SERENE," a street phrase of very modern 
adoption, the burden of a song. SERENE, ALL SERENE ! from the 
Spanish SERENO, equivalent to the English " all's well ;" a counter- 
sign of sentinels, supposed to have been acquired by some filibusters 
who were imprisoned in Cuba, and liberated by the intercession of the 
British ambassador. The Sereno, the Spanish night watchman, cries 
out, with the hour, the state of the atmosphere. He was called the 
Sereno (clear), from his announcing the usual fine (sereno) night quite 
different from the work of our old "Charlies," whose usual call was 
one of foul weather. 

Serve out, to punish, or be revenged on any one. 

Setter, sevenpence. Italian, SETTK. See SALTKE. Lingua 


Setter, a person employed by the vendor at an auction to run the bid- 
dings up ; to bid against bona-fide bidders. Also the man who take* 
the boA at hazard, and "sets a go." 

Setting jewels, taking the best portions of a clever book not much 
known to the general public, and incorporating them quietly with 
a new work by a thoroughly original author. The credit of this term 
belongs to Mr. Charles Reade, who explained that the process is ac- 
countable for the presence of some writing by one Jonathan Swift, in a 
story published at Christmas, 1872, and called The Wandering Heir. 

Settle, to kill, ruin, or effectually quiet a person. 

Settled, transported, or sent to penal servitude for life; sometimes spoken 


Set-tO, a sparring match, a fight ; "a DEAD SET" is a determined oppo- 
sition in argument, or in movement. 

Sevendible, a very curious word, used only in the North of Ireland, to 
denote something particularly severe, strong, or sound. It is, no doubt, 
derived from sevendouble that is, sevenfold and is applied to linen 
cloth, a heavy beating, a harsh reprimand, &c. 

Seven-pennorth, transportation for seven years. 

Seven-sided animal, a one-eyed man, as he has an inside, outside, 
left side, right side, foreside, backside, and blind side. 

Seven-up, the game of all-fours, when played for seven chalks that is, 
when seven points or chalks have to be made to win the game. 

Sewed-up, done up, used up, intoxicated. Dutch, SEEUWT, sick. 

Sewn-up, quite worn-out, or " dead beat." 

Shack, a "chevalier d'industrie." A scamp, a blackguard. Nottingham. 

Shack-per-swaw, every one for himself, a phrase in use amongst 
the lower orders at the East-end of London, derived apparently from 
the French, CHACUN POUR SOI. 

Shackly, loose, rickety. Devonshire. 

Shady, an expression implying decadence. On "the SHADY side of 
forty" implies that a person is considerably older than forty. SHADY 
also means inferiority in other senses. A "shady trick" is either a 
shabby one, mean or trumpery, or else it is one contemptible from the 
want of ability displayed. The SHADY side of a question is, and fairly 
enough too, that which has no brightness to recommend it. 

Shake, a disreputable man or woman. North. In London a SHAKE i* 
a prostitute. 

Shake-down, an improvised bed. 

Shake-lurk, a false paper carried by an impostor, giving an account of 
a " dreadful shipwreck." 

Shake the elbow, TO, a roundabout expression for dice-playing. To 
" crook the ELBOW" is an Americanism for " to drink." 

Shaker, a shirt. 

Shakers, a Puritanical sect, almost peculiar to America, and not similar 
to our Quakers, as is generally believed. They have very strange 


notions on things in general, and especially on marriage and the con- 
nexion of the sexes. 

Shakes, a bad bargain is said to be " no great SHAKES ;" " pretty fair 
SHAKES" is anything good or favourable. Byron. In A merica, a fair 
SHAKE is a fair trade or a good bargain. 

Shakes, " in a brace of SHAKES," i.e., in an instant 

Shakester, or SHICKSTER, a female. Amongst costennongers this term 
is invariably applied to ladies, or the wives of tradesmen, and females 
generaUy, of the classes immediately above them. Amongst Jews the 
word signifies a woman of shady antecedents. Supposed to be derived 
from the Hebrew, SHIKTZA. It is generally pronounced " shickser." 

Shaky, said of a person of questionable health, integrity, or solvency j at 
the Universities, of one not likely to pass his examination. 

Shaler, a girl. Corrupt form of Gaelic, CAILLE, a young woman. 

Shalley-gonahey, a smock-frock. Cornish. 

Shallow, the peculiar barrow used by costermongers. 

Shallow, a weak-minded country justice of the peace. Shakspeart. 

Shallow-cove, a begging rascal, who goes about the country half 
naked, with the most limited amount of rags upon his person, wearing 
neither shoes, stockings, nor hat. 

Shallow-mot, a ragged woman, the frequent companion of the 


Shallows, " to go on the SHALLOWS," to go half naked. 

Sham, contraction of champagne. In general use among the lower 
class of sporting men. Sometimes extended to SHAMMY. 

Sham Abraham, to feign sickness. See ABRAHAM. 

Shandrydan, an old-fashioned or rickety conveyance of the "shay 1 * 

Shandy-gaff, ale and gingerbeer. Origin unknown, but use very 

Shanks, legs. 

Shanks's mare, "to ride SHANKS'S MARE," to go on foot 

Shant, a pot or quart ; " SHANT of bivvy," a quart of beer. 

Shanty, a rude, temporary habitation. The word is principally em- 
ployed to designate the huts inhabited by navigators, when constructing 
large lines of railway far distant from towns. It is derived from the 
French CHANTIER, 'used by the Canadians for a log hut, and has 
travelled from thence, by way of the United States, to England. 

Shanty, a song. A term in use among sailors. From CHANTER. 

Shapes, "to cut up" or "show SHAPES," to exhibit pranks, or flightiness. 

Shark, a sharper, a swindler. Bow Street term in 1785, now in most 
dictionaries. Friesic and Danish, SCHURK. See LAND-SHARK. 

Sharp, or SHARPER, a cunning cheat, a rogue, the opposite of FLAT. 

Sharp, a similar expression to "TWO PUN' TEN" (which ste), used bj 
assistants in shops to signify that a customer of suspected honesty is 


amongst them. The shopman in this case would ask one of the assis- 
tants, in a voice loud enough to be generally heard, " Has Mr. SHARP 
come in yet?" "No," would probably be the reply; "but he is 
expected every minute." The signal is at once understood, and a 
general look-out kept upon the suspected party. 

Sharp's-alley blood-worms, beef sausages and black puddings. 
Sharp's Alley was, until City improvemennts caused it to be destroyed, 
a noted slaughtering-place near Smithfield. 

Shave, a false alarm, a hoax, a sell. This term was much in vogue in 
the Crimea during the Russian campaign, that is, though much used 
by the military before then, the term did not, until that period, become 
known to the general public. 

Shave, a narrow escape. At Cambridge, "just SHAVING through," or 
"making a SHAVE," is just escaping a " pluck" by coming out at the 
bottom of the list. 

" My terms are anything but dean 
Then read with me, and never fear ; 
The examiners we're sure to queer, 
And get through, if you make a SHAVH on't* 

TJte Private Tutor. 

Shave ; " to SHAVE a customer," charge him more for an article than the 
marked price. Used in the drapeiy trade. When the master sees an 
opportunity of doing this, he strokes his chin, as a signal to his assistant 
who is serving the customer. 

Shaver, a sharp fellow ; there are young and old SHAVERS. Sea. 

Shebeen, an unlicensed place where spirituous liquors are illegally sold 
A word almost peculiar to Ireland. 

Shed a tear, to take a dram, or glass of neat spirits ; jocular phrase 
used, with a sort of grim earnestness, by old topers to each other. 
" Now then, old fellow, come and SHED A TEAR 1" an invitation to 
take " summat short." The origin may have been that ardent spirits, 
taken neat by younger persons, usually bring water to their eyes. 
With confirmed drinkers, however, the phrase is used with an air of 
mingled humour and regret at their own position. A still more pathetic 
phrase is " putting a NAIL IN ONE'S COFFIN," which see. The term 
SHED A TEAR is probably derived from " eye- water." 

Sheen, bad money. Scotch. 

Sheeny, a Jew. This word is used by both Jew and Gentile at the East- 
end of London, and is not considered objectionable on either side. 

Sheep's eyes, loving looks, "to make SHF.EP'SEYES at a person," tc 
cast amorous glances towards one on the sly. 

" But he, the beast, was casting SHEEP'S EYES at her 
Out of his bullock head." 

Shelf, "on the SHELF," not yet disposed of; young ladies are said to be 
so situated when they cannot meet with husbands. On the SHELF- 
also means pawned, or laid by in trust. 

Shell out, to pay or count out money. Also a game played on a billiard 
table, a variation of pool. 


Shepherd, to look after carefully, to place under police surveillance. 

, nothing ; " to do anything for SHICE," to get no payment. The 
term was first used by the Jews in the last century. Grose gives the 
phrase CHICE-AM-A-TRICE, which has a synonymous meaning. Spanish, 
CHICO, little ; Anglo-Saxon, CHICHE, niggardly ; or perhaps con- 
nected with the German, SCHEISSEN. 

a mean man, a humbug, a "duffer," a worthless person, one 
who will not work. This is the worst term one Jew can use to another. 
At the diggings it means a hole which yields nothing. 

Shickery, shabby, bad. From SHAKY, SHAKERY. 

Shickster, a lady. See SHAKESTER. 

Shickster-crabs, ladies' shoes. Tramp? term. 

ShlgS, money, silver. East London. 

Shikaree, a hunter, a sportsman. Anglo-Indian. An English sportsman 
who has seen many ups and downs in jungles of the East styles himseli 
" an OLD SHIKAREE." Anglo-Indian. Also spelt SHEKARRY. 

Shilly-shally, to trifle or fritter away time : to be irresolute. Corrup- 
tion of " Shall I, shall I ?" 

Shin, an Americanism for walking. "I'm tired of SHINNING around." 

Shindy, a row, or noise. A SHINDY generally means a regular melee. 

Shine, a row, or disturbance. 

Shine, " to take the SHINE out of a person," to surpass or excel him. 

Shiners, sovereigns, or money. 

Shiney rag, "to win the SHINEY RAG," to be ruined, said in gambling, 
when any one continues betting after "luck has set in against him." 

Shin-plaster, a bank-note. Originally an Americanism. 

Shins. " To break one's SHINS," figurative expression meaning to borrow 

Ship-shape, proper, in good order ; sometimes the phrase is varied to 

"SHIP-SHAPE and Bristol fashion." Sea. The latter portion of the 

expression went out with Bristol's fame as a seaport. 
Shirty, ill-tempered, or cross. When one person makes another in an 

ill-humour he is said to have "got his SHIRT out." 

Shivering Jemmy, the name given by street-folk to any cadger who 
exposes himself, half naked, on a cold day, to obtain alms. The 
"game" is unpleasant, but was, before exposure of a different kind 
spoilt it, exceedingly lucrative. 

Shockhead, a head of long, unkempt, and rough hair. 

Shoddy, old cloth worked up into new ; made from soldiers' and police- 
men's coats. The old cloth is pulled to pieces, the yarn unravelled 
nd carded over again. This produces shoddy, which is very short in 
the fibre, and from it are produced, on again twisting and weaving, 
cloth fabrics used for ladies' mantles, &c. Also, a term of derision 
applied to workmen in woollen factories. Yorkshire. 

Shoddy, the plutocracy created out of bogus (Contracts during the civil 


war in the United States. The SHODDYITES enriched themselves at 
the expense of their country in the most shameless manner, having most 
likely studied under those contractors who should have supplied our 
soldiers with necessaries during the Crimean War. 

Shoe, to free or initiate a person, a practice common in most trades to 
a new-comer. The SHOEING consists in paying for beer, or other 
liquor, which is drunk by the older hands. The cans emptied, and the 
bill paid, the stranger is considered properly SHOD. SHOEING is a 
variation of "paying one's footing." 

Shoe leather ! a thiePs warning cry when he hears footsteps. This 
exclamation is used in the spirit which animated the friend who, when 
he suspected treachery towards Bruce at King Edward's court, in 
1306, sent him a purse and a pair of spurs, as a sign that he should use 
them in making his escape. 

Shoes, " to die in one's SHOES," to be hanged. In the old hanging days 
a highwayman would often kick off his shoes when the rope was round 
his neck, so as oh, vain and impotent attempt ! to defeat the pro- 
phecy that had foreshadowed his present position. 

Shoes, children's, to make, to suffer oneself to be made sport of, 
or depreciated. Commonly used in Norfolk. Cf. Mrs. Behn's comedy, 
The Roundheads. 

Hews. "Who, pox ! shall we stand MAKING CHILDRRN'S SHOES all the yeirf No : 
let's begin to settle the nation, I say, ami go through-stitch with our work." 

Shofu.1, a Hansom cab. This favourite carriage was the invention of a 
Mr. Hansom, afterwards connected with the Builder newspaper. It 
has been asserted that the term SHOKUL was derived from "shovel," 
the earliest slang term applied to Hansoms by other cab-drivers, who 
conceived their shape to be after the fashion of a scoop or shovel. A 
logical friend of the present Editor's argues thus : SHOFUL, full of 
show, ergo, beautiful handsome Hansom. This is clever, but it 
certainly never entered into the heads of those who gave the name of 
SHOFUL to the Hansom cabs. 

Shoflll, bad or counterfeit money. Perhaps, as some think, from the 
Danish, SKUFFE, to shove, to deceive, cheat ; Saxon, SCUFAN, 
whence the English, SHOVE. The term, however, is possibly one of 
the many street words from the Hebrew (through the low Jews) ; 
SHEPHEL, in that language, signifying a low or debased estate. Chaldee, 
SHAPHAL. See Psalm cxxxvi. 23, "in our low estate." A corre- 
spondent suggests a very probable derivation, from the German, SCHOFEL, 
trash, rubbish, the German adjective, SCHOFELIG, being the nearest 
possible translation of our shabby. SHOFUL means anything mock, as 
SHOFUL jewellery. A SHOFUL is also a humbug, an impostor. 

Shoful-pitcher, a passer of bad money. SHOFUL-PITCHING, passing 
bad money. "Snide-pitcher" and "Snide-pitching" are terms ex- 
changeable with the preceding. 

Shoful pullet, a " gay " or unsteady woman, especially a young woman. 

Sholl, to bonnet one, or crush a person's hat over his eyes. North. 


Shool, to saunter idly, to become a vagabond, to beg rather than work. 

Smollett's Roderick Randfm, vol. i., p. 262. 
Shool, Jews' term for their synagogue. 
Shoot the cat, to vomit. From a story of a man being sick in the back 

yard, and suffocating a cat and all her kittens. 

Shoot the moon, to remove furniture from a house in the night witV 
out paying the landlord. 

Shop. In racing slang, to secure first, second, or third position in a race, is 

to get a SHOP. This is also known as a place, and as a situation. 

Shop, a house. " How are they all at your SHOP ?" is a common question 

among small tradesmen. 
Shop, the House of Commons. The only instance we have met with of 

the use of this word in literature occurs in Mr. Trollope's Framley 

Parsonage : 

" ' If we are merely to do as we are bid, and have no voice of our own, I don't see 
what's the good of our going to the SHOP at all,' said Mr. Sowerby." 

Shop, to discharge a shopman. In military slang, to SHOP an officer is 
to put him under arrest in the guard-room. In pugilistic slang, to 
punish a man severely is "to knock him all over the SHOP," i.e., the 
ring, the place in which the work is done. 

Shop-bouncer, or SHOP-LIFTER, a person generally respectably attired, 
who, while being served with a small article at a shop, steals one of 
more value. Shakspeare has the word LIFTER, a thief. 

Shop-walker, a person employed to walk up and down a shop, to hand 
seats to customers, and see that they are properly served. Contracted 
also to WALKER. 

Shopping, purchasing at shops. Termed by Todd a slang word, but 
used by Cowper and Byron. 

Shoppy, to be full of nothing but one's own calling or profession ; "to 
talk SHOP, " to converse of nothing but professional subjects. 

Short, when spirit is drunk without any admixture of water, it is said to 
be taken " SHORT ;" " summat SHORT," a dram. A similar phrase is 
used at the counters of banks ; upon presenting a cheque, the clerk asks, 
" How will you take it ?" i.e., in gold, or notes. If in notes, long or 
short? Should it be desired to receive it in notes for the largest 
possible amount, the answer is, SHORT. A conductor of an omnibus, 
or any other servant, is said to be SHORT when he does not give all the 
money he receives to his master. 

Short, hard-up ; a polite term for impecuniosity used in clubs and among 
military men. 

Short commons, short allowance of food. See COMMONS. 

Shorter, one who makes a dishonest profit by reducing the coin of the 
realm by clipping and filing. From a crown-piece a SHORTER could 
gain 5d. Another way was by chemical means : a guinea laid in aqua- 
fortis would, in twelve hours, precipitate gd. -worth of sediment; in 
twenty-four, is. 6d. -worth. Rommany Rye. 


Shot, from the modern sense of the word to SHOOT, a guess, a random 
conjecture; " to make a bad SHOT," to expose ones ignorance by 
making a wrong guess, or random answer, without knowing whether it 
is right or wrong. 

Shot, from the once general, but now provincial word, to SHOOT, to sub- 
scribe, contribute in fair proportion ; a share, from the Anglo-Saxon 
word, SCEAT i " to pay one's SHOT," i.e., share of the reckoning, &c. 

" Yet still while I have got 
Enough to pay the SHOT 
Of Boniface, both gruff and greedy O !" 

Filler's Garland for 1835. 

Shot, " I wish I may be SHOT, if," &c., a common form of mild swearing. 

Shot, a term used among horse chaunters. To SHOT a horse, is to give 
him a lot of small shot, which will for a short time "ffectually "open 
his pipes," and make him appear sound in wind. 

Shot in the locker, money in pocket, resource of any kind in store. 

Shoulder, when a servant embezzles his master's money, he is said to 
SHOULDER his employer. 

Shout, to pay for drink round. "It's my SHOUT," says he who pays. 

Possibly because the payer originally SHOUTED to the bar-keeper of an 

hotel to score the drink to him. Australian, but now general. 
Shove-halfpenny, a gambling pot-house pastime, played on a table. 

A very old game, originally called push-penny. 
Shove in the mouth, a glass of spirits, which is taken off quickly and 

at once. 
Shovel, a term applied by the vulgar crowd to the inelegant twisted hats 

worn by the dignitaries of the Church. Dean Alford says, " I once 

heard a venerable dignitary pointed out by a railway porter as " an old 

party in a SHOVEL." Queen's English. 
Shrimp, a diminutive person. Chaucer. 
Shtumer, a horse against which money may be laid without risk. See 


Shunt, to avoid, to turn aside from. From the railway term. 

Shut Of, or SHOT OF, i.e., rid of. A very common expression amongst 
the London lower orders. One costermonger will say to another : 
" Well, Ike, did yer get SHUT o' them there gawfs [apples] ? " i.e., did 
you sell them all ? 

Shut up ! be quiet, don't make a noise ; to stop short, to cease in a 
summary manner, to silence effectually. The following is from a 
literary paper :" Only the other day we heard of a preacher who, 
speaking of the scene with the doctors in the Temple, remarked that 
the Divine disputant completely SHUT THEM UP I" SHUT UP, utterly 
exhausted, done for. 

Shy, a throw. See the following : 

Shy, to fling ; COCK-SHY, a game at fairs, consisting of throwing short 


sticks at trinkets or cocoanuts set upon other sticks, both name and 
practice derived from the old game of throwing or SHYING at live 
cocks. This game is best known to the London public as " three shies 
a penny." 

Shy. "To fight SHY of a person," to avoid his society either from dislike, 
fear, or other reason. SHY has also the sense of nighty, unsteady, un- 

Shy, to stop suddenly, or turn off, as a horse does when frightened. 

Shyster, a duffer, a vagabond. Variation of "shicer." 

Sices, or SIZES, a throw of sixes at dice. 

Sick as a horse, a popular simile, curious, because a horse never vomits^ 

Sickener, a dose too much of anything. Too much of even a good thing 
will make a man sick. 

Side, an affirmative expression in the cant language of the northern towns. 
"Do you stoll the gammy?" (Do you understand cant?) " SIDE, 
cove" (yes, mate). 

Side-boards, or STICK-UPS, shirt collars. Name applied some years 
ago, before the present style of collars came into fashion. 

Sift, to embezzle small coins, those which might pass through a sieve as 
threepences and fourpennies and which are, therefore, not likely to 
be missed. 

Sight, " to take a SIGHT at a person," a vulgar action employed by boys 
and others to denote incredulity, or contempt for authority, by placing 
the thumb against the nose and extending the fingers, which are agitated 
in token of derision. 

" The sacristan he says no word that indicates a doubt, 
But he puts his finger to his nose, and spreads his fingers out" 

Nell Cook. 

Silly season, the period when nobody is supposed to be in London, 
when there are no parliamentary debates to publish, and when editors 
are at their wits'-ends to fill their papers with readable matter. All 
kinds of crazes on political and social subjects are then ventilated, 
gigantic gooseberries, monstrous births, and strange showers then be- 
come plentiful, columns are devoted to matters which would not at any 
other time receive consideration, and, so far as the newspapers are con- 
cerned, silliness is at a premium. 

Silver beggar, or LURKER, a vagabond who travels through the country 
with " briefs" containing false statements of losses by fire, shipwrecks, 
accidents, &c. Forged documents are exhibited with signatures of 
magistrates and clergymen. Accompanying these are sham sub- 
scription-books. The former, in beggar parlance, is termed "a sham," 
whilst the latter is denominated " a delicate." 

Sim, one of a Methodistical turn in religion ; a Low Churchman ; origi 
nally a follower of the late Rev. Charles Simeon, Cambridge. 

Simon, a sixpenny-piece. 

Simon, or SIMPLE SIMON, a credulous, gullible person. A character in a 
song, but now common. 


Simon Pure, "the real SIMON PURE," the genuine article. Those who 
have witnessed Mr. Charles Mathews's performance in Mrs. Centlivre's 
admirable comedy of A Bold Stroke for a Wife, and the laughable 
coolness with which he, the false SIMON PURE, assuming the Quaker 
dress and character of the real one, elbows that worthy out of his ex- 
pected entertainment, will at once perceive the origin of this phrase. 
See act v. scene i. 

Simpkin, or SIMKIN, champagne. Anglo- Indian. Derived from the 
manner in which native servants pronounce champagne. 

Simpson, water used in the dilution of milk. Term in use among cow- 
keepers. From this the parish pump has been called Mrs. SIMPSON. 

Sing out, to call aloud. Sea. 

Sing Small, to lessen one's boasting, and turn arrogance into humility. 

Sing-song, a harmonic meeting at a pot-house, a free-and-easy. 

Sinkers, bad money, affording a man but little assistance in "keeping 

Sinks, a throw of fires at dice. French, CINQ. 

Si quis, a candidate for " orders." From the notification commencing 
si QUIS if any one. 

Sir Harry, a close stool. 

Sir Reverence, a corruption of the old phrase, SAVE YOUR REVERENCE, 
a sort of apology for alluding to anything likely to shock one's sense of 
decency. Latin, SALvA. REVERENTIA. See Shakspeare's Romeo and 
fuliet, act i. scene iv. From this it came to mean the thing itself 
human ordure generally, but sometimes other indecencies. 

Siserara, a hard blow. Suffolk. Many derive this term from the story 
of Sisera in the Old Testament, but it is probably a corruption of 
CERTIORARI, a Chancery writ reciting a complaint of hard usage. 

Sit under, a term employed in Dissenters' meeting-houses, to denote 
attendance on the ministry of any particular preacher. 

^it upon, to overcome or rebuke, to express contempt for a man in a 
marked manner. Also, to chaff or " roast" a man consumedly. 

Sit-upons, trousers. See INEXPRESSIBLES. 

SiWV, " 'pon my SIWY," i.t., upon my soul or honour. Corruption of 
" asseveration," like DAVY, which is an abridgment of "affidavit." 

Sixes and sevens, articles in confusion are said to be all SIXES AMI* 
SEVENS. The Deity is mentioned in the Towneley Mysteries as He 
that "set all on seven," i.e., set or appointed everything in seven 
days. A similar phrase at this early date implied confusion and dis- 
order, and from these, Halliwell thinks, has been derived the phrase 
' to be at SIXES AND SEVENS." A Scotch correspondent, however, 
states that the phrase probably came from the workshop, and that 
amongst needle- makers, when the points and eyes are "heads and 
tails" ("heeds and thraws"), or in confusion, they are said to be 
SIXES AND SEVENS, because those numbers are the sizes most gen*, 
rally used, and in the course of manufacture have frequently to b* 


Sixty, "to go along like SIXTY," i.e., at a good rate, briskly. 

Sixty-per-cent, a bill-discounter. From the rate of interest generally 
charged. If bill-discounters profess to do the business for less, they 
generally make up the level sixty by extras. 

Six -water grog, a sea-term for the weakest grog possible six portions 
of water to one of rum hardly enough spirit to "swear by." 

Size, to order extras over and above the usual commons at the dinner in 
college halls. Soup, pastry, &c., are SIZINGS, and are paid for at z. 
certain specified rate per SIZE, or portion, to the college cook. Peculiar 
to Cambridge. Minsheu says, "SiZE. a farthing which schollers in 
Cambridge have at the buttery, noted with the letter s." 

Sizers, or SIZARS, certain poor scholars at Cambridge, annually elected, 
who got their dinners (including "sizings") from what was left at the 
upper, or Fellows' table, free, or nearly so. They paid rent of rooms, 
and some other fees, on a lower scale than the " Pensioners" or ordinary 
students, and were equal with the "battlers" and "servitors" at Oxford. 

Sizings. See SIZE. 

Skedaddle, to go off in a hurry. The American war introduced this 
new and amusing word. A Northerner who retreated "retired upon 
his supports," but a Southerner was said to SKEDADDLE. The 
Times remarked on the word, and Lord Hill wrote to prove that it was 
excellent Scotch. The Americans only misapply the word, which 
means, in Dumfries, " to spill" milkmaids, for example, saying, 
"You are SKEDADDLING all that milk." The Yankees therefore 
adopted the term, and altered the application. 

Skid, a sovereign. Fashionable slang. Occasionally SKIV. 

Skid, or SKIDPAN, an instrument for locking the wheel of a coach when 
going down hill. It is often said that a talkative person might put the 
SKID on, with advantage to his listeners, if not to himself. 

Skied, or SKYED, thrown upwards, as "coppers" in tossing. 
Skied. Artists say that a picture is SKIED when it is hung on the upper 
line at the Exhibition of the Royal Academy. See FLOORED. 

Skilligolee, prison gruel. Also sailors' soup of many ingredients. The 
term is occasionally used in London workhouses. 

Skilly, abbreviation of SKILLIGOLEE. 
Skimmery, St. Mary Hall, Oxford. University. 
Skin, a purse. This term is mostly in use among thieves. 
Skin, to abate, or lower the value of anything; "thin-SKlNNED," sensitive, 
touchy, liable to be "raw" on certain subjects. 

Skin-the-lamb, a game at cards, a very expressive corruption of the 
term " lansquenet," also a racing term. When a non-favourite wins a 
race, bookmakers are said to SKIN THE LAMB, under the supposition 
that they win all then: bets, no person having backed the wvmer. Thii 
has been corrupted into SKINNER. 

Skinflint, on old and popular simile fo, a "close-fisted," stingy person. 


Sternberg, in his Northamptonshire Glossary, says the Eastern Ian- 
guages have the same expression. Abdul-Malck, one of the Ommeyade 
Khaliphs, noted for his extreme avarice, was surnamed Raschal- 
Hegiarah, literally, "the SKINNER of a FLINT." 

Skinner, a term among bookmakers. "May we have a SKINNER," 
'.<., may we SKIN THE LAMB, which see, 

Skipper, the master of a vessel. Germ., SCHIFFER, from SCHIFF, a ship j 
sometimes used as synonymous with "governor." 

Skipper, a barn. Ancient Cant. From the Welsh, YSGUBOR, pronounced 
SCYBOR, or SCIBOR, the proper word in that language fora barn. 

Skipper-birds, or KEYHOLE- WHISTLERS, persons who sleep in barns 
or outhouses from necessity or in preference to sleeping in lodging. 

Skipper-it, to sleep in the open air, or in a rough way. 

Skit, a joke, a squib. Term generally used in reference to any pungent 
or pointed political allusion. 

Skittles, a game similar to that of Ten Pins, which, when interdicted 
by the Government, was altered to Nine Pins, or SKITTLES. The pins 
are set up in an alley, and thrown (not bowled) at with a round piece 
of hard wood, shaped like a small flat cheese. The costers used to 
consider themselves the best players in London, but they have been 
frequently undeceived. SKITTLES has within the past few years received 
an awful blow quite a floorer from " the powers that be." 

Skow-banker, a fellow who loiters about the premises of any one 
willing to support him, and who objects to the necessity of working 
for his living ; a rogue, a rascal. Common in Melbourne, Australia. 

Skrouge, to push or squeeze. North. 

Skull- tliatcher, a straw-bonnet-maker, sometimes called " a bonnet- 

Skunk, a mean or paltry fellow, one whose name stinks. 

Sky, a disagreeable person, an enemy. Westminster School. The word 
derived its origin from a corruption of the last syllable of the word 
" VOLSCI :" Westminster boys being of course understood to be the 

Sky, to toss up towards the SKY. Term used in tossing with halfpence ; 
" It's all right, Jim SKIED the browns," i.e., threw them up, a proof 
that there could have been no collusion or cheating. 

Sky-blue, London milk much diluted with water, or from which the 
cream has been too closely skimmed. 

" Hence, Suffolk dairy wives run mad for cream, 
And leave their milk with nothing but the name ; 
Its name derision and reproach pursue, 
And strangers tell of three-times-skimm'd SKY-BLUR." 

's Farmtr'* Bar. 

The recent Adulteration Act has done away with SKY-BLUE, andinajle 
Simpson a relic of the past. SKY-BLUE formerly meant giu. 

Bky-lark. See under LARK. 


Sky-parlour, the garret. 

Sky-Scraper, a tall man ; " Are you cold up there, old SKY-SCRAPER r*' 
Properly a sea-term. The light sails, which some adventurous skippers 
set above the royals in calm latitudes, are termed SKY-SCRAPERS and 


Sky-wannocking, unsteady frolicking. Norfolk. 

Slab, thick, as gruel, porridge, &c. 

Slack, " to hold on the SLACK," to skulk ; a slack rope not requiring to 
be held. Sea. 

Slam, a term at the game of whist. When two partners gain the whole 
thirteen tricks, they win a SLAM, which is considered equal to a rubber. 

Slam., to talk fluently. " He's the bloke to SLAM." From a term in use 
among birdsingers at the East-end, by which they denote a certain style 
of note in chaffinches. 

Slammock, a slattern or awkward person. West, and Norfolk. 

Slang, low, vulgar, unwritten, or unauthorized language. Gipsy, SLANO, 
the secret language of the gipsies, synonymous with GIBBERISH, 
another gipsy word. The word is only to be found in the diction- 
aries of Webster and Ogilvie. It is given, however, by Grose, in his 
Dictionary of the lulgar Tongue, 1785. SLANG, since it has been 
adopted as an English word, generally implies vulgar language not 
known or recognised as CANT ; and latterly, when applied to speech, 
it has superseded the word FLASH. Latterly, however, SLANG lias 
become the generic term for all unauthorized language. The earliest 
instance of the use of the word that can be found, is the following : 

" Let proper nurses be assigned, to take care of these babes of grace, [young 
thieves]. . . . The master who teaches them should be a man well versed in 
the cant language commonly called the SLANG patter, in which they should 
by all means excel." Jonathan Wild's Advice to kis Successor. LONDON, 

y. Scott, 1758. 

Slang, a travelling show. 

Slang, to cheat, to abuse in foul language. 

Slang, counterfeit or short weights and measures. A SLANG quart is a 
pint and a half. SLANG measures are lent out at 2d. per day to street 
salesmen. The term is used principally by costermongers. 

Slang, a watch-chain. SUPER and SLANG, a watch and chain. 

Slang, " out on the SLANG," i.e., to travel with a hawker's licence. 

Slang-whanger, a long-winded speaker. Parliamentary. 

Slangy, flashy, vulgar ; loud in dress, manner, and conversation. 

Slantingdicular, oblique, awry, as opposed to PERPENDICULAR. 
Originally an Americanism, now a part of the vocabulary of London 
" high life below stairs." 

Slap, paint for the face, rouge. 

Slap, exactly, precisely ; " SLAP in the wind's eye," i.e., exactly to wind- 

Slap-bang, suddenly, violently. From the strike of a ball being felt 
before the report reaches the ear, the SLAP first, the BAVG afterwards. 


Slap-bang-shops, originally low eating-houses where the ready-money 
was paid down with a SLAP-BANG. Grose. A SLAP-BANG-SHOP is 
now a very pretentious eating-house. 

Slap-dash, immediately, or quickly ; at a great rate. 
Slap-up, first-rate, excellent, very good. 
Slasher, a powerful roysterer, a game and clever pugilist. 
Slashers, the Twenty-eighth Regiment of Foot in the British army. 
Slate, "he has a SLATE loose," i.e., he is slightly crazy. 
Slate, to pelt with abuse, to beat, to "lick ;" or, in the language of the 
reviewers, to " cut up." Also, among bettors, to lay heavily against a 
particular man or animal in a race. 

Slate, to knock the hat over one's eyes, to bonnet. Norli. 
Slavey, a maid-servant. 
Slawmineyeux, a Dutchman. Probably a corruption of the Dutch, 

ja, mynheer; or German, ja, mein If err. Sea. 

Sleepless-hats, those of a napless character, better known as WIDE- 

Slender, a simple country gentleman. Shaksptare. 
Slewed, drunk, or intoxicated. Sea term. When a vessel changes the 
tack, she, as it were, staggers, the sails flap, she gradually heels over, 
and the wind catching the waiting canvas, she glides off at another 
angle. The course pursued by an intoxicated, or SLEWED, man, is 
supposed to be analogous to that of the ship, 

<Slick, an Americanism, very prevalent in England since the publication 
of Judge Haliburton's facetious stories, which means rapidly, effec- 
tually, utterly. 

Slick, smooth, unctuous ; abbreviation of sleek. 

Sling, a drink peculiar to Americans, generally composed of gin, soda- 
Water, ice, and slices of lemon. At some houses in London GIN-SLINGS 
may be obtained. 
Sling, to pass from one person to another. To blow the nose with the 

naked fingers. 

Sling your hook, a polite invitation to move-on. " Sling your Daniel" 
has the same meaning. The pronouns may be altered to suit the 

Slip "to give the SLIP," to run away, or elude pursuit. Shakspeare 
has, "You gave me the counterfeit," in Romeo and Juliet. Giving 
the SLIP, however, is a sea phrase, and refers to fastening an anchor 
and chain cable to a floating buoy, or water-cask, until a time arriTes 
when it is convenient to return and take them on board. In fastening 
the cable, the home end is SLIPPED through the hawse-pipe. Weigh- 
ing anchor is a noisy task, so that giving the SLIP infers leaving quietly. 
Slip, or let SLIP; "to SLIP into a man'* to give him a sound beating, 
" to let SLIP at a cove," to rush voilently upon him, and assault with 
Slipping:- a trick of card-sharpers, in the performance of which, by dex- 


terous manipulation, they place the cut card on the top, instead of at 

the bottom of the pack. It is the faire sauter la coupe of the French. 

In pugilistic parlance, "to SLIP a man," is to "duck and get away 

with great dexterity. 

Slips, the sides of the gallery in a theatre are generally so called. 
Blog, to beat or baste, to fight. German, SCHLACHTEN ; or perhaps from 

some connexion with the Gaelic SLOGAN. The pretended Greek 

derivation from <7\oyw is humbug, there being no such word in the 


Slogdollager, an Americanism, meaning the same as our STOCKDOL- 
LAGER, which see. 

SlOggers, i.e., SLOW-GOERS, the second division of race-boats at Cam- 
bridge. At Oxford they are called TORPIDS. University. A hard 
hitter at cricket is termed a SLOGGER ; so is a pugilist. 

Slogging, a good beating, 

Slop, a policeman. At first back slang, but now modified for general use. 

Slop, cheap, or ready-made, as applied to clothing, is generally supposed 
to be a modern appropriation ; but it was used in this sense in 1691, 
by Maydman, in his Naval Speculations ; and by Chaucer two centuries 
before that. SLOPS properly signify sailors' working clothes, which 
are of a very cheap and inexpensive character. 

Slope, to decamp, to run, or rather slip away. Some persons think it 
came originally from LOPE, to make off; and that the s probably became 
affixed as a portion of the preceding word, as in the case of " Let's lope," 
let us run. It is purely an Americanism, and is possibly but an emen- 
dation of our own word elope. Lope, leap, and elope are kindred. 
A humorous correspondent says that Tennyson is decidedly partial to 
slang, and instances amongst other proofs a passage from the laureate's 
famous Locksley Hall: 

" Many a night, from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest. 
Did I look on great Orion SLOPING slowly to the west." 

Though this correspondent may not have intended it, his joke haj 

given the key to the situation, and has shown how our cousins most 

probably came to use the word in its present sense. " The sun is 

SLOPING fast." 
Slops, any weak, wet, and warm mixture. Hard drinkers regard all 

effeminate beverages as SLOPS. 
Slops, chests or packages of tea ; "he shook a slnm of SLOPS," i.e., stole 

a chest of tea. Also ready-made clothes the substantive of SLOP. 
Slops, liquid house-refuse. 
Slopshop, a tailor's shop where inferior work is done, and where cheap 

goods are sold. 

Slour, to lock, or fasten. Prison Cant 

Sloured, buttoned up J.SLOURED HOXTER, an inside pocket buttoned ujv 
Slowcoach., a lumbering, dull person ; one slow of comprehension. 
Slowed, to be locked up (in prison). 


Slubberdegullion, a paltry, dirty, sorry wretch. 

" Quoth she, although thou hast deserved, 

Base SLUBUERDEGULLION, to be served 

As thou didst vow to deal with me, 

If thou hadst got the victory" 

-,. . Hudibnu. 

Bluicery, a gin-shop or public-house. 

Sluicing One's bolt, drinking. 

Slum, a chest, or package. See SLOPS. 

Slum, a letter. Prison Cant. 

Slum, an insinuation, a discreditable innuendo. 

Slum, gammon, " up to SLUM," wide awake, knowing. 

"And this, without more SLUM began, 
Over a flowing pot-house can, 
To settle, without botheration, 
The rigs of this here tip-top nation. 

Jack Randal Ft Diary, i8wx 

Slum, or BACK SLUM, a dark retreat, alow neighbourhood ; as Westminstei 

and East-end SLUMS, favourite haunts for thieves. 
Slum, to hide, to pass to a confederate. 

Slum, to saunter about, with a suspicion, perhaps, of immoral pursuits. 

Cambridge University Slang. 
Slum the gprger, to cheat on the sly, to be an eye-servant. SLUM in 

this sense is old cant. 
Slumgullion, any cheap, nasty, washy beverage. An Americanism 

best known in the Pacific States. 
Slumming, passing bad money. 
Slush, the grease obtained from boiling the salt pork eaten by seamen, 

and generally the cook's perquisite. 
Slushy, a ship's cook. 
Sluter, butter. North. 

Smack smooth, even, level with the surface, quickly. 
Small-beer; " he doesn't think SMALL-BEER of himself," i.e., he has a 

great opinion of his own importance. SMALL COALS is also used in 

the s,ame sense. 

Small hours, the early hours after midnight. 
Small potatoes, a term of contempt. " He's very SMALL POTATOES,** 

he's a nobody. Yet . no one thinks of calling an important personage 

" large POTATOES." 
Smalls, a University term for the first general examination of the 

student It is used at Cambridge, but properly belongs to Oxford. The 

Cambridge term is "little go." 
Smasn, to become bankrupt, or worthless; "to go all to SMASH," t 

break, "go to the dogs, or fall in pieces. 
Smash, to pass counterfeit money. 
Smasher, one who passes bad coin, or forged notes. 


Smashfeeder, a Britannia-metal spoon, the best imitation shillings 

are made from this metal. 
Smash-man- G-eordie, a pitman's oath. Durham and Northumbw* 

land. See GEORDIE. 

Smeller, the nose ; " a blow on the SMELLER" is often to be found in 
pugilistic records. Otherwise a NOSE-ENDER. 

Smish, a shirt, or chemise. 

Smithers, or SMITHEREENS; "all to SMITHEREENS," all to smash. 
SMITHER is a Lincolnshire word for a fragment. 

Smock-face, a white delicate face, a face without whiskers. 

Smoke, London. From the peculiar dense cloud which overhangs 
London. The metropolis is by no means so smoky as Sheffield, Bir- 
mingham, &c. ; yet country-people, when going to London, frequemly 
say they are on their way to the SMOKE ; and Londoners, when 
leaving for the country, say they are going out of the SMOKE. 

Smoke, to detect, or penetrate an artifice. Originally used by London 
detectives, probably on account of their clouded intellects. 

Smudge, to smear, obliterate, daub. Corruption of SMUTCH. 

Smug, smuggling. Anglo- Chinese. 

Smug, extremely neat, after the fashion, in order. 

Smug, sleek, comfortable. Term often applied to a seemingly pious 

humbug, more of the Chadband than the Stiggins. 

SmuggingS, snatchings, or purloinings, shouted out by boys, when 
snatching the tops, or small play property, of other lads, and then 
running off at full speed. 

" Tops are in ; spin 'em agin. 
Tops are out ; SMUGGING'S about." 

Smut, a copper boiler. Also, the " blacks" from a furnace. 
Smutty, obscene, vulgar as applied to conversation. Variation of dirty. 
Snack, a share or division of plunder. To "go SNACKS," to divide 

equally. Also, a light repast. Old Cant and Gipsy term. 
Snack, to quiz or chaff with regard to a particular weakness or recent 

transaction. As a substantive in this sense SNACK means an innuendo. 
Sliaffle, conversation on professional or private subjects which the rest 

of the company cannot appreciate. In East Anglia, to SNAFFLE is to 

talk foolishly. 
Snaffled, arrested, "pulled up," so termed from a kind of horse's bit 

called a SNAFFLE. 

Snaggle teeth, those that are uneven, and unpleasant looking. West. 
Snaggling, angling after geese with a hook and line, the bait being a 

worm or snail. The goose swallows the bait, and is quietly landed and 

bagged. See Seymour's Sketches. 
Snaggy, cross, crotchety, malicious. 
Snam, to snatch, or rob from the person. Mostly used to describe that 

kind of theft which consists in picking up anything lying about, and 
making off with it rapidly. 


Snaps, share, portion ; any articles or circumstances out of which money 
may be made ; " looking out for SNAPS," waiting for windfalls, or odd 
jobs. Old. Scotch, CHITS, term also used for " coppers," or halfpence. 

Snapps, spirits. Dutch, SCHNAPPS. The word, as originally pro- 
nounced, is used by East-end Jews to describe any kind of spirits, and 
the Gentiles get as near as they can. 

Sneaksman, a shoplifter ; a petty, cowardly thief. 

Sneeze-lurker, a thief who throws snuff in a person's face, and then 

robs him. 

Sneezer, a snuff-box ; a pocket-handkerchief. 
Snell-fencer, a street salesman of needles. SNELLS are needles. 
Snick-ersnee, a knife. Sea. Thackeray uses the term in his 
humorous ballad of Little Billee. 

Snicker, a drinking-cup. A HORN-SNICKER, a drinking-horn. 
Snid, a sixpence. Scotch. 

Snide, bad, spurious, contemptible. As, "a SNIDE fellow," "SNIDE 
coin," &c. Also used as a substantive, as, " He's a SNIDE," though 
this seems but a contraction of SNIDE 'UN." 

Snigger, to laugh in a covert manner. Also a mild form of swearing, 
"I'm SNIGGERED if you will." Another form of this latter is 


Sniggering, laughing to oneself. East. 

Snip, a tailor, apparently from SNIPES, a pair of scissors, or from the 

snipping sound made by scissors in cutting up anything. 
Snipe, a long bill or account ; also a term for attorneys, a race with a 

remarkable propensity for long bills. 
Snipes, "a pair of SNIPES," a pair of scissors. They are occasionally 

made in the form of a snipe. 
Snitch, to give information to the police, to turn approver. SNITCHING 

is synonymous in thieves' slang with " nosing" and " peaching." 
Snitchers, persons who turn Queen's evidence, or who tell tales. In 

Scotland, SNITCHERS signify handcuffs. 

Snob, a low, vulgar, or affected person. Supposed to be from the nick- 
name usually applied to a cobbler or maker of shoes ; but believed by 
many in its later sense to be a contraction of the Latin, SINE OISOLO. 
Others go to work for an etymology thus : They assume that NOBS, 
i.e., nobiles, was appended in lists to the names of persons of gentle 
birth, whilst those who had not that distinction were marked down as 
SNOB, i.e., sine nobilitate, without marks of gentility, thus, by a 
simple transposition, quite reversing the meaning. Others, again, 
remark that, as at college sons of noblemen wrote after their names in 
the admission lists, fil. nob., son of a lord, and hence all young noble- 
men were called NOBS, and what they did NOBBY, so those who imi- 
tated them would be called quasi-nobs, "like a nob," which by a 
process of contraction would be shortened to si-nob, and then SNOB, 


one who pretends to be what he is not, and apes his betters. The 
short and expressive terms which many think fitly represent the three 
great estates of the realm NOB, SNOB, and MOB were all originally 
slang words. The last lias safely passed through the vulgar ordeal of 
the streets, and found respectable quarters in the standard dictionaries. 
For fuller particulars of the genus SNOB, in all its ramifications, the 
reader cannot do better than apply to the general works of that great 
master of the subject, William Makepeace Thackeray, though it may 
be as well to remark that the SNOB for whom the novelist had such an 
aversion is now very widely known as " cad." 

Snobbish., stuck up, proud, make-believe. 

Snob-Stick, a workman who refuses to join in strikes, or trade-unions. 
Amplification of KNOB-STICK. 

Snooks, an imaginary personage often brought forward as the answer to an 
idle question, or as the perpetrator of a senseless joke. Said to be simply 
a shortening or abbreviation of " Sevenoaks," the Kentish village. 

Snooze, or SNOODGE (vulgar pronunciation), to sleep or doze. 

Snooze-case, a pillow-slip. 

Snorter, a blow on the nose. A hurry is sometimes called a " reg'lar 


Snot, a term of reproach applied to persons by the vulgar when vexed or 
annoyed, meaning really a person of the vilest description and meanest 
capacity. In a Westminster school vocabulary for boys, published 
in the last century, the term is curiously applied. Its proper meaning 
is the glandular mucus discharged through the nose. 

Snot, a small bream, a slimy kind of flat fish. Norwich. 

Snotter, or WIPE-HAULER, a pickpocket whose chief fancy is for gentle- 
men's pocket-handkerchiefs. North. 

Snottinger, a coarse word for a pocket-handkerchief. The German 
Schnupftuch is, however, nearly as plain. A handkerchief was also 
anciently called a "muckinger" or "muckender," and from that a 
neckerchief was called a "neckinger." 

SnOW, wet linen, or linen hung out to dry. Old Cant. 

Snow-gatherer, or SNOW-DROPPER, a rogue who steals linen from 
hedges and drying-grounds. 

Snuff, "up to SNUFF," knowing and sharp; "to take SNUFF," to be 
offended. Shakspeare uses SNUFF in the sense of anger, or passion. 

Snuff it, to die. Term very common among the lower orders of London. 
A fanciful variation of " putting one's light out," and used simply in 
reference to the action of the person dying. Thus any one threatening 
to murder another says, " I'll put your light out," or any one commit- 
ting suicide is said to "put his own light out j" but to " SNUFF IT" is 
always to die from disease or accident. To "lay down one's knife 
and fork," to "peg out," or " give up," are variations of this form of 


, tipsy, drunk. 

Snuggle, to lie closely and cosily. 

Snyder, a tailor. German, SCHNEIDE*. 

Soaker, an habitual drunkard. 

Soap, flattery. See SOFT SOAP. 

Sober-water, a jocular allusion to the uses of soda-water. 

Social evil, a name for some years applied to our street-walking system, 
in consequence of the articles in the newspapers which treat on the evils 
of prostitution being so headed. A good story has been often told on 
this subject, which will bear repeating : " A well-known divine and 

Shilanthropist was walking in a crowded street at night in order to 
istribute tracts to promising subjects. A young woman was walking 
up and down, and he accosted her. He pointed out to her the error 
of her ways, implored her to reform, and tendered her a tract with 
fervent entreaties to go home and read it The girl stared at him for 
a moment or two in sheer bewilderment ; at last it dawned on her 
what he meant, and for what he took her, and looking up in his face 
with simple amazement, she exclaimed, ' Lor' bless you, sir, I ain't a 
SOCIAL EVIL ; I'm waitin' for the 'bus !' " The enthusiasm which wai 
felt in this direction a few years back has received considerable modifica- 
tion, as it has been proved that the efforts of the promoters of midnight 
meetings and other arrangements of a similar nature, praiseworthy 
though they are, have little or no effect ; and that the early-closing 
movement in the Haymarket has done more to stamp out the SOCIAL 
EVIL than years of preaching, even when accompanied by tea and 
buns, could ever have done. 

Sock, the Eton College term for a treat, synonymous with " chuck" used 
at Westminster and other schools. Believed to be derived from the 
monkish word SOKE. An old writer speaks of a pious man " who did 
not SOKE for three days," meaning that he fasted. The word is still used 
by the boys of Heriot's Hospital School at Edinburgh, and signifies a 
sweetmeat ; being derived from the same source as sugar, suck, SUCRE, &c. 

Sock, credit. As, " He gets his goods on SOCK, while I pay ready." 

Sock into him, i.e., give him a good drubbing ; " give him SOCK," t.e., 
thrash him well. 

Sockdolager. See STOCKDOLLAGER. 

Socket-money, money extorted by threats of exposure. To be applied 
to for SOCKET-MONEY is perhaps one of the most terrible inflictions 
that can befall a respectable man. SOCKETERS, as the applicants are 
called, should be punished with the utmost possible severity. 

Sodom, a nickname for Wadham, due to the similarity of the sounds. 
Oxford University, 

Soft, foolish, inexperienced. A term for bank-notes. 

Soft-horn, a simpleton ; literally a donkey, whose ears, the substitute* 
of horns, are soft. 

Soft-sawder, flattery easily laid on or received. Probably introduced 
by Sam Slick. 


Soft-soap, or SOFT-SAWDER, flattery, ironical praise. 

Soft-tack, bread. Sea. 

Soft-tommy, loaf-bread, in contradistinction to hard biscuit. 

Soiled doves, the " Midnight Meeting" term for prostitutes and " gay" 
ladies generally. 

Sold, "SOLD again ! and got the money," gulled, deceived. Vide SELL. 

Sold up, or OUT, broken down, bankrupt 

Soldier, a red herring. Common term in seaport towns, where exchange 
is made, a soldier being called by the fishy title. 

Something damp, a dram, a drink. 

Son of a gun, a familiar term for a man. Sometimes applied eulogis- 
tically, never contemptuously. Generally said of an artful person, 
and perhaps, originally, son of a "gun," (or "gonnof "). In the army 
it is sometimes applied to an artilleryman. 

Sonkey, a clumsy, awkward fellow. 

Soor, an abusive term. Hindostanee, a pig. Anglo-Indian. 

Soot-bag, a reticule. 

Sop, a soft or foolish man. Abbreviation of MILKSOP. 

Soph (abbreviation of " sophister"), a title peculiar to the University of 
Cambridge. Undergraduates are junior SOPHS before passing their 
" Little Go," or first University examination, senior SOPHS after that. 

Sort, used in a slang sense thus " That's your SORT," as a term of appro- 
bation. " Pitch it into him, that's your SORT," i.e., that is the propei 
kind of plan to adopt. 

So-SO, not particularly reputable. "A very so-so sort of a person," a 
person whom it is no advantage to know. " It was very so-so" (said 
of a piece of work or an entertainment), it was neither good nor bad. 

Sound, to pump, or draw information from a person in an artful manner 

Souper, an Irish Roman Catholic who pretends conversion or perver- 
sion S o as to obtain a share of the soup and blankets provided for 
Protestants only by Christian missionaries. These recalcitrants are 
also called "swaddlers." 

Sou' -wester, a hat with a projection behind. Much worn at sea in 
" dirty" weather. A hat similar to that of a dustman or coalheaver, 
which is called a " fantail." 

Sov, contraction of sovereign ; much used in sporting parlance to denote 
the amount of entrance money, forfeit, and added coin in connexion 
with a race. In the published conditions of a race the word sovs is 
almost invariably used in preference to pounds, though in reckoning 
the net value of a big stake, after its decision, the common is used. 

Sow, the receptacle into which the liquid iron is poured in a gun-foundry. 
The melted metal poured from it is termed PIG. 

SOW'S baby, a pig ; sixpence. 

Spanish, money. Probably a relic of buccaneering days. 

" Save its synonyms SPANISH, blunt, stumpy, And rowdy." Barkar*. 


Spank, a smack, or hard slap. 

SparJk, to move along quickly ; hence a fast horse or vessel is iaid to b 

"a SPANKER tO go." 

Spanking, large, fine, or strong ; e.g., a SPANKING pace, a SPANKING 

breeze, a SPANKING fellow. 
Sparks, diamonds. Term much in use among the lower orders, and 

generally applied to stones in rings and pins. 

Specklebellies, Dissenters. A term used in Worcester and the North, 
though the etymology seems unknown in either place. 

Specks, damaged oranges. Coslermonger's term. 

Speech, a tip or wrinkle on any subject. On the turf a man will wait 
before investing on a horse until he "gets the SPEECH," as to whether 
it is going to try, or whether it has a good chance. To " give the 
SPEECH," is to communicate any special information of a private 

Speel, to run away, make off; "SPEEL the drum," to go off with stolen 
property. North . 

Spell, a turn of work, an interval of time. " Take a SPELL at the cap- 
stern." Sea. "He took along SPELL at that tankard." "After a 
long SPELL." 

Spell, " to SPELL for a thing," to hanker after it, to desire possession. 

Spell, to advertise, to put into print. "SPELT in the leer," i.e., adver 

tised in the newspaper. 
Spell, contracted from SPELLKEN. " Precious rum squeeze at the SPELL," 

i.e., a good evening's work at the theatre, might be the remark of a 

successful pickpocket. 
SpeLLken, or SPEELKEN, a playhouse. German, SPIELEN. See KEN. 

Don Juan. 
Spick and span, applied to anything that is quite new and fresh. 

Spidireon, the name ef an imaginary ship, sometimes mentioned by 

sailors. If a sailor be asked what ship he belongs to, and does not 

wish to tell, he will most probably reply "The SPIDIREEN frigate, 

with nine decks, and ne'er a bottom." See MERRY DUN OF DOVER. 

Spierized, to have your hair cut and shampooed, from the shop of Spiers 

in High Street. Oxford University. 
Spiff, a well-dressed man, a "swell." 
Spiffed, slightly intoxicated. Scotch Slang. 
Spiffs, the per-centages allowed by drapers to their young men when they 

effect a sale of old-fashioned or undesirable stock. 

Spiffy, spruce, well-dressed, tout a la mode. 

Spifflicate, to confound, silence, annihilate, or stifle. A corruption of 

the last word, or of " suffocate." 

Spike Park the Queen's Bench Prison. See BURDON'S HOTEL, 
Spill, to throw from a horse or chaise. See PURL. 


Spin, to reject from an examination. Army. 

Spindleshanks, a nickname for any one who has thin legs. 

Spin-'em rounds, a street game consisting of a piece of brass, wood, 
or iron, balanced on a pin, and turned quickly round on a board, when 
the point, arrow-shaped, stops at a number, and decides the bet one 
way or the other. The contrivance very much resembles a sea com- 
pass, and was formerly the gambling accompaniment of London pie- 
men. The apparatus then was placed on the tin lids of their pie-cans, 
and the bets were ostensibly for pies, but were frequently for "cop- 
pers, " or for beer when two or three apprentices or porters happened 
to meet. An active and efficient police have, however, changed all that 

Spiniken, St. Giles's Workhouse. "Lump," Marylebone Workhouse. 
" Pan," St. Pancras. " Pan" and "Lump" are now terms applied to 
all workhouses by tramps and costers. 

Spinning-house, the place in Cambridge where street-walkers are 
locked up, if found out after a certain time at night. 

Spirt, or SPURT, "to put on a SPIRT," to make an increased exertion for 
a brief space, to attain one's end ; a nervous effort. Abbreviation or 
shortening of SPIRIT, or allusion to a SPIRT of water, which dies away 
as suddenly as it rises. 

" So here for a man to run well for a SPURT, and then to give over. ... is 
enough to annul all his former proceedings, and to make him in no better 
estate than if he had never set foot into the good waies of God." Gataker't 
Stirituall Watch, 410. 1619, p. 10. 

Spitalflelds' breakfast. At the East-end of London this is under- 
stood as consisting of a tight necktie and a short pipe. Amongst work- 
men it is usual to tighten the apron string when no dinner is at hand. 
Hunters and trappers always take in their belts when supplies are short. 
"An Irishman's dinner" is a low East-end term, and means a smoke 
and a visit to the urinal. Sometimes the phrase is, " I'll go out and 
count the railings," i.e. t the park or area railings, mental instead of 
maxillary exercise. 

Spitfire, a passionate person. 

Splash, complexion powder used by ladies to whiten their necks and 
faces. The finest rice flour, termed in France poudre de riz, is gene- 
rally employed. See SLAP. 

Splendiferous, sumptuous, first-rate. SPLENDACIOUS sometimes used 
with similar meanings. 

Splice, to marry ; " and the two shall become one flesh." Sea. Also, 
a wife. 

Splice the main brace, to take a drink. Sea. 

Split, to inform against one's companions, to tell tales; "To SPLIT with 
a person, to cease acquaintanceship; to quarrel. Also to divide a bottle 
of aerated water ; as, " two brandies and a soda SPLIT ;" in which 
case " to SPLIT with " a person has a very different meaning from that 
just given. 

Split up, long in the legs. Among athletes, a man with good length of 
limb is said to be " well SPLIT UP." 


Splodger, a lout, an awkward countryman. 

Spoflfy, a bustling busybody is said to be SPOFFY. 

Sponge, " to throw up the SPONGE," to submit, to give over the struggle, 
from the practice of throwing up the SPONGE used to cleanse a com- 
batant's face at a prize-fight, as a signal that the side on which that 
particular SPONGE has been used has had enough that the SPONGE is 
no longer required. 

Spoon, synonymous with SPOONEY. A SPOON has been defined to be "a 
thing that touches a lady's lips without kissing them." 

Spooney, a weak-minded and foolish person, effeminate or fond ; " to be 
SPOONEY on a girl," to be foolishly attached to one. 

Spoons, the condition of two persons who SPOON on each other, who ari 
deeply in love. " I see, it's a case of SPOONS with them," is a common 
phrase when lovers are mentioned. 

Spoons, a method of designating large sums of money, disclosed at the 
Bankruptcy Court during the examination of the great leather failures 
of Streatfield and Laurence in 1860-61. The origin of the phrase was 
stated to be the reply of the bankrupt Laurence to an offer of accom- 
modating him with ,5000, " Oh, you are feeding me with a TEA- 
SPOON." Hence, ,5000 came to be known in the firm as a TEA-SPOON, 
jio,ooo, a DESSERT-SPOON ; i$,ooo, a TABLE-SPOON ; and ^20,000, 
as a GRAVY-SPOON. The public were amused at this TEA-SPOON 
phraseology, but were disgusted that such levity should cover a gigantic 
swindle of the kind. It came out in evidence, however, that it was 
not the ordinary slang of the discount world, but it may not impro- 
bably become so. To " take it with a SPOON," is to take anything in 
small quantities. The counsel for the defence in the Tichborne 
perjury case was reminded a short time back by one of the judges that 
he was using a TEA-SPOON instead of a shovel, to clear through the 

Sport, to exhibit, to wear, &c., a word which is made to do duty in a 
variety of senses, especially at the Universities. See the Gradus ad 
Cantabrigian. "To SPORT a new tile ;" "to SPORT an sEgrotat" (i.e., 
a pennission from the Dons to abstain from lectures, &c., on ac- 
count of illness) ; "to SPORT one's oak," to shut the outer door and 
exclude the public, especially duns and boring acquaintances. 
Common also in the Inns of Cdurt. See Notes and Queries, 2nd series, 
. vol. viii. p. 492, and Gentleman's Magazine, December, 1794. 

Sport, an American term for a gambler or turfite more akin to our 
sporting man than to our sportsman. 

Sporting door, the outer door of chambers, also called the OAK. Set 
under WQXt.&*a*rtifr, 

Spot, to mark, to recognise. Originally an Americanism, but now 
general. " I SPOTTED him (or it) at once." 

Spotted, to be known or marked by the police. 

Spout, " up the SPOUT," at the pawnbroker's ; SPOUTING, pawning. See 
POP for origin. 

Spout, to preach, or make speeches ; SPOUTER, a preacher or lecturer. 


Sprat, sixpence. 

Spread, butter. Terra with workmen and schoolboys. See SCRAPE. 
Spread, a lady's shawl, an entertainment, a display of good things. 
Spread, a meal. Sporting term for a dinner. A sporting man often 
challenges another to compete with him at any athletic pursuit or 
pastime, for so much wine and a SPREAD of large or small proportions. 
Spree, a boisterous piece of merriment ; "going on the SPREE," starting 
out with intent to have a frolic. French, ESPRIT. In the Dutch 
language, SPREEUW is a jester. 

Springer-up, a tailor who sells low-priced ready-made clothing, ano. 

gives starvation wages to the poor men and women who ' ' make up" 

for him. The clothes are said to be SPRUNG-UP, or "blown together." 

Sprint race, a short-distance race, mn at the topmost speed throughout. 

SPRINT is in the North synonymous with SPURT, and hence the name. 

Sprung, inebriated sufficiently to become boisterous. 

Spry, active, strong, manly. Much used in America, but originally 

Spuddy, a seller of bad potatoes. In lower life, a SPUD is a raw potato ; 

and roasted SPUDS are those cooked in the cinders with their skins on. 
Spun, when a man has failed in his examination at Woolwich, he is said 
to be SPUN; as at the Universities he is said to be "plucked" or 

Spunge, a mean, paltry fellow, sometimes called a SPUNGER. 
Spunge, to live at another's expense in a mean and paltry manner. 
Spunging-house, the sheriff's officer's house, where prisoners, when, 
arrested for debt, used to be taken. As extortionate charges were 
made there for accommodation, the name was far from inappropriate. 
Spunk, spirit, fire, courage, mettle, good humour. 

" In that snug room, where any man of SPUNK 
Would find it a hard matter to get drunk." 

Peter Pindar, \. 045. 

Common in America, and much used in some parts of Scotland. 

Spunk-fencer, a lucifer-match seller. 

Spunks, lucifer-matches. Herefordshire; Scotland. SPUNK, says Urry, 
in his MS. notes to Ray, " is the excrescency of some tree, of which 
they make a sort of tinder to light their pipes with." 

Spurt. Old. See SPIRT. 

Squabby, flat, short and thick. From SQUAB, a sofa. 

Square, honest; "on the SQUARE," i.e., fair and strictly honest ; "to 
turn SQUARE," to reform, and get one's living in an honest manner, 
the opposite of " cross." The expression is, in all probability, derived 
from the well-known masonic emblem the SQUARE, the symbol of 
evenness and rectitude. 

"You must keep within the coropast, and act upon the SQUARE with all mankind, 
for your masonry is but a dead letter if you do not habitually perform it- " 
rated injunctions." Oliver's Lectures en Signs and Symbol*. . 19*. 

its reit- 



Square, "to be SQUARE with a man," to be even with him, or to be 
revenged; "to SQUARE up to a man," to offer to fight him. Shak- 
speare uses SQUARE in the sense of to quarrel. 

Square COVe, an honest man, as distinguished from " cross cove." 
Square moll, an honest woman, one who does not ' ' batter. " 
Squaring his nibs, giving a policeman, or any official, money for an 
immoral or unlawful purpose. The term HIS NIBS has no reference to 
any functionary, as the words mean simply "him," and may be applied 
to any one. 

Square rigged, well dressed. Sea. 

Square up, to settle, to pay a debt. 

Squarum, a cobbler's lapstone. 

Squash, to crush ; " to go SQUASH," to collapse. 

Squeak, an escape. Generally used with regard to the avoidance of 

casualties. Among thieves, too, a prisoner acquitted after a hard trial 

is said to have had " a narrow SQUEAK for it." 
Squeak on a person, to inform against, to peach. 
Squeal, to inform, to peach. A North country variation of squeak ; 

SQUEALER, an informer, also an illegitimate baby. 

Squeeze, silk ; also, by a very significant figure, a thief's term for the neck. 
Squib, a jeu d 'esprit, which, like the firework of that denomination, 

sparkles, bounces, stinks, and vanishes. Grose. Generally used in 

reference to political and electioneering attacks of a smart kind, which 

sting for a moment and are then forgotten. 
Squiffy, slightly inebriated. 

Squinny-eyed, said of one given to squinting. Shaksfeare. 
Squirt, a doctor, or chemist 

Squish, common term among University men for marmalade. 
Stab, "STAB yourself and pass the dagger," help yourself and pass the 

bottle. Theatrical Slang. 
Stab, "on the STAB," i.e. t paid by regular weekly wages on the 

"establishment," of whichword STAB is an abridgment. Printer's term. 
Stab -rag a regimental tailor. Military Slang. 
Stag, a shilling. 
Stag, a term applied during the railway mania to a speculator without 

capital, who took " scrip" in proposed lines, got the shares up to a 

premium, and then sold out. Caricaturists represented the house pt 

Hudson, "the Railway King," at Albert Gate, with a STAG on it, in 

allusion to this term. 
Stag, to see, discover, or watch, like a STAG at gaze; "STAG the push," 

look at the crowd. Also, to dun, or demand payment ; to beg. 
Stage-whisper, one loud enough to be heard. From the stage" asides.* 
Stagger, to surprise. " He quite STAGGERED me with the information." 
Stagger, one who looks out, or watches. 


Staggering-bob, an animal to whom the knife only just anticipates 
death from natural disease or accident, said of meat on that account 
unfit for human food. Also a newly-born calf. 

StaPd drunk, unevaporated fumes of liquor. A man is said to be 
STALE DRUNK when he has been drunk overnight, and has doctored 
himself with stimulants a little too much in the morning when he has 
tried too many of the "hairs of the dog that bit him." If this state of 
things is long continued, it is often called "same OLD DRUNK," from 
a well-known nigger story. The nigger was cautioned by his master 
for being too often drunk within a given period, when the ' ' cullud 
pusson" replied, " Same old drunk, massa same old drunk." 
Stalking-horse, originally a horse covered with loose trappings, under 
which the mediaeval sportsman concealed himself with his bow, so as 
to approach his game unobserved. Subsequently a canvas figure, made 
light, so as to be easily moved with one hand. Now used to represent 
any bugbear persistently paraded ; any constant and unpleasant refe- 
rence to the possible consequences of an act. 
Stall, to lodge, or put up at a public-house. Also, to act a part. 


Stall, to frighten or discourage. In the days of dog-fighting and pugilism, 
a dog or man who had originally shown great pluck would, after a hard 
battle or two, show signs of cowardice. In such case he was said to 
have been STALLED by his previous encounters. A STALL is a spurious 
excuse or an imposition, a dodge, &c. 

Stall-off, to put off by means of a device, to misdirect purposely. 
Stall off, to blind, excuse, hide, to screen a robbery during the perpetra- 
tion of it by an accomplice. 
Stall your mug, go away ; spoken sharply by any one who wishes 

to get rid of a troublesome or inconvenient person. 
Stallsman, sometimes STALL, an accomplice. 
Stampers, shoes. Ancient Cant, 

Stand, " to STAND treat," to pay for a friend's entertainment ; to bear 
expense ; to put up with treatment, good or ill, as, " Will you STAND 
that?" a question often asked when a man has been struck or insulted. 
Also in the sense of aggregate cost, as, "This house STOOD me in 
;looo;" i.e., cost that sum ; "to STAND pad," to beg on the kerb with 
a small piece of paper pinned on the breast, inscribed, " I am starving." 
Stand in, to make one of a party in a bet or other speculation ; to take 

a side in a dispute. 
Standing, the position at a street corner, or on the kerb of a market 

street, regularly occupied by a costermonger, or street seller. 
Standing patterers, men who take a stand on the kerb of a public 
thoroughfare, and deliver prepared speeches to effect a sale of any 
articles they have to vend. See PATTERER. 

Stan gey, a tailor, a person under petticoat government, derived from 
the custom of " riding the STANG," mentioned in Hudibras:' 

" It 5s a custom used of course 
Where the grey mare is the better horse." 


Star, a common abbreviation of the name of the well-known STAR AND 
GARTER Inn at Richmond. Clever people, who delight in altering 
names, call this hostelry the "Gar and Starter." 

Star it, to perform as the centre of attraction, with inferior subordinates 
to set off one's abilities. Theatrical. 

Star the glaze, to break a window. Among thieves it means to break 
the window or show-glass of a jeweller or other tradesman, take any 
valuable articles, and run away. Sometimes the glass is cut with a 
diamond, and a strip of leather fastened to the piece of glass cut out 
to keep it from falling in and making a noise. Another plan is to cut 
the sash. 

Starchy, stuck-up, high-notioned, showijy dressed, stiff and unbending 
in demeanour. 

Stark-naked, originally STRIP-ME-NAKED, vide Randall's Diary, 1820, 
raw gin. 

Start, "the START," London, the great starting-point for beggars and 
tramps. This is a term also used by many of superior station to those 

Start, a proceeding of any kind ; " a rum START," an odd circumstance ; 
" to get the START of a person," to anticipate or overreach him. 

Starvation, though now a recognised word, was originally slang. Its 
derivation is composite, and it was first introduced into the English 
language by Mr. Dundas, in a debate in the House of Commons on 
American affairs, in 1775. "I shall not," he said, "wait for the 
advent of STARVATION from Edinburgh to settle my judgment." From 
this he was always afterwards called STARVATION Dundas. Horace 
Walpotts Letters. 

Starve 'em, Eob 'em, and Cheat 'em, the adjoining towns of Stroud, 
Rochester, and Chatham are so designated by soldiers and sailors ; 
from some fancied peculiarities of the inhabitants. 

Stash, to cease doing anything, to refrain, be quiet, leave off; "STASH it, 
there, you sir !" i.e., be quiet, sir; to give over a lewd or intemperate 
course of life is to STASH it. 

Stay, to exhibit powers of endurance at walking, running, rowing, &c. 

Stayer, one likely to persevere, one not easily discouraged. It is usual 
for laudatores temporis acti connected with the turf to deplore the want 
of staying power which, according to their statements, characterizes 
the modern British racehorse ; while others, connected and discon- 
nected with sport, make similar remarks with reference to the modern 
British man. So far, however, both descriptions of old gentlemen 
have failed signally in endeavouring to make out a good case. 

Steam-engine, potato-pie at Manchester is so termed. 

Steel, the House of Correction in London, formerly named the BastUe, but 
since shortened to STEEL. See BASTILE. 

Steel-bar drivers, or FLINGERS, journeymen tailors. 

Stems, the legs. 

Step it, to run away, or make off. 

Stepper, the treadmill j the " everlasting staircase." 


Stick, a derogatory expression for a person ; " a rum, or odd, STICK," 

a curious man. More generally a " poor STICK." Provincial. 
Stick, " cut your STICK," be off, or go away ; either simply equivalent to 
a recommendation to prepare a walking staff in readiness for a journey 
in allusion to the Eastern custom of cutting a STICK before setting 
out or from the ancient mode of reckoning by notches or tallies on a 
STICK. In Cornwall the peasantry tally sheaves o com by cuts in a 
STICK, reckoning by the score. " Cut your STICK" in this sense may 
mean to make your mark and pass on and so realize the meaning of 
the phrase, " in the nick (or notch) of time." Sir J. Emerson Tennent 
considers the phrase equivalent to ' ' cutting the connexion, " and sug- 
gests a possible origin in the prophet's breaking the staves of ' ' Beauty" 
and "Bands," vidt Zech. xi. 10, 14. 

Stick, to cheat ; "he got STUCK," he was taken in; "I'm STUCK," a 
common phrase to express that the speaker has spent or lost all his 
money, and can neither play nor pay any longer. STICK, to forget one's 
part in a performance. Theatrical. STICK up, to place in an account; 
" STICK it up to me," i.e., give me credit for it ; STICK on, to over- 
charge or defraud ; STICK up for, to defend a person, especially when 
slandered in his absence ; STICK up to, to persevere in courting 
or attacking, whether in fisticuffs or argument; "to STICK in one's 
gizzard," to rankle in one's heart ; "to STICK to a person," to adhere 
to one, to be his friend through adverse circumstances, to " cotton" 
to him ; "to STICK one's spoon in the wall," to die. 

Stick-Up, to keep any one waiting at an appointed place or time. To 
leave a friend or acquaintance to pay the whole or an undue share of a 
tavern bill. 

Stick-ups, or GILLS, shirt collars. 
Sticker, one not likely to be easily shaken off, a stayer 
StickingS, coarse, bruised, or damaged meat sold to sausage-makers and 

penny pie-shops. 
Sticks, furniture, or household chattels ; "pickup your STICKS and cutl* 

summary advice to a person to take himself and furniture away. 
Sticky, wax. 

Stiff, paper, a bill of acceptance, &c. ; " how did you get it, STIFF or 
hard ?" i.e. , did he pay you cash or give a bill ? " To do a bit of STIFF," 
to accept a bill. See KITE. 
Stiff-fencer, a street-seller of writing paper. 
Stiff un, a corpse. Term used by undertakers. 

Stills, undertakers' slang term for STILL-BORN children. The fee paid 
by nurses and others for their disposal is usually zs. 6d. A separate 
coffin is never given ; the STILLS are quietly introduced into one con- 
taining an adult about to be buried. STILLS are allowed to accumulate 
at an undertaker's until they sometimes number as many as a dozen. 
Some little time back a very bulky coffin was opened, and found to con- 
tain a large quantity of small corpses packed carefully round a large corpse. 
This caused a little excitement, but nothing was done in the matter. 
Stilton, "that's the STILTON," or "it's not the STILTON," i.e., that i 


quite the thing, or that is not quite the thing ; affected rendering of 
" that is not the CHEESE," which see. 
Stingo, strong liquor. Yorkshire. 

Stink, a disagreeable exposure. " To stir up a STINK" is to make a dis- 
closure which is generally unpleasant in its effect. 

Btinkomalee, a name given to the then New London University by 
Theodore Hook. Probably because some cow-houses and dunghills 
stood on the original site. Some question about Trincomalee was 
agitated at the same time. It is still applied by the students of the 
old Universities, who regard it with disfavour from its admitting all 

Stipe, a stipendiary magistrate. Provincial. 

Stir, a prison, a lock-up ; " in STIR," in gaol. Anglo-Saxon, STYE, cor- 
rection, punishment 

Stir-up Sunday, the Sunday next before Advent, the collect for that 
day commencing with the words, "Stir up." Schoolboys, growing 
excited at the prospect of the vacation, irreverently commemorate it 
by stirring up pushing and poking each other. " Crib-crust Monday" 
and " tug-button Tuesday" are distinguished by similar tricks; while 
on "pay-off Wednesday" they retaliate small grudges in a playful 
facetious way. Forby says good housewives in Norfolk consider them- 
selves reminded by the name to mix the ingredients for their Christmas 

Stock. " To STOCK cards" is to arrange cards in a certain manner for 
cheating purposes. 

StOOk, "to take STOCK of one," to scrutinize narrowly one whom you 
have reason to suspect, or one with whom you are likely to have busi- 
ness transactions ; taken from the tradesmen's term for the annual 
examination and valuation of their stock of goods. 

StOCkdollager, a heavy blow, a " finisher." Italian, STOCCADO, a 
fencing term. Also (in a general sense), a disastrous event. Ameri- 

Stodge, to surfeit, gorge, or clog with food. STODGE is in some placet 
bread and milk. 

Stoll, to understand. North Country Cant. 

Stomach, to bear with, to be partial to. Mostly used in a negative 
character, as, " I can't STOMACH that." 

Stone-jug, a prison. 

" In a box of the stone-jug I was bom." 

StOOk, a pocket-handkerchief. A STOCK-HAULER, or "buzzer," is a thief 
who takes pocket-handkerchiefs. 

Storv a falsehood, the soft synonym for a lie, allowed in family circles 
and boarding-schools. A Puritanism that came into fashion wUh the 
tirade against romances, all novels and stories being considered ai 
dangerous and false. 


Slot, a young bullock. In Northumberland the term STOT means to 


fJtotor, a heavy blow, a settler. Old Cant. 
StOW, to leave off, or have done ; " STOW it, the gorger's leary." Leave 

off, the person is looking. See STASH, with which it is synonymous. 

Ancient Cant. 

StOW, to put away, to hide. A hungry man is said to STOW his food 
rapidly. He is also said to hide it. 

StOW faking ! leave off there, be quiet ! FAKING means anything that 
may be going on. 

Straight, an American phrase peculiar to dram-drinkers ; similar to our 

word NEAT, which see. 
Strap, a barber. From Roderick Random. 
Straw. Married ladies are said to be "in the STRAW" at their accouche- 

ments. The phrase is a coarse metaphor, and has reference to farm- 

yard animals in a similar condition. It may have originally been 

suggested to the inquiring mind by the Nativity. 

Str awing, "selling" straws in the streets (generally for a penny), and 
"giving" the purchaser a paper (indecent or political) or a gold (!) 
ring, neither of which, the patterer states, he is allowed by Act of 
Parliament to sell. 

Streak, to decamp, run away. Saxon. In America the phrase is "to 
make STREAKS," or " make TRACKS." 

Streaky, irritated, ill-tempered. Said of a short-tempered man who has 
his good and bad times in STREAK. 

Street-pitchers, negro minstrels, ballad-singers, long-song men, men 
" working a board" on which have been painted various exciting 
scenes in some terrible drama, the details of which the STREET PITCHER 
is bawling out, and selling in a little book or broadsheet (price one 
penny) ; or any persons who make a stand i.e. , a pitch in the streets, 
and sell articles or contribute entertainments for a living. 

Stretch, a walk. University. 

Stretch, abbreviation of " STRETCH one's neck," to hang, to be executed 
as a malefactor. As, " The night before Larry was STRETCHED." 

Stretch, twelve months, generally used to intimate the time any one 
has been sentenced by the judge or magistrate. One STRETCH is twelve 
months' imprisonment, two STRETCH is two years, three STRETCH is 
three years, and so on. 

Stretcher, a falsehood ; one that requires a STRETCH of imagination or 

Stretcher, a contrivance with handles, used by the police to carry off 
persons who are violent or drunk. 

Stretcher-fencer, one who sells braces. 

%tretching match, an execution. Often called a "hanging match.* 

Strike & jigger, to pick a lock, or break open a door. 

Strike me lucky! an expression used by the lower orders when 


making a bargain, derived from the old custom of striking hands toge- 
ther, leaving in that of the seller a LUCK PENNY as an earnest that 
the bargain is concluded. In Ireland, at cattle markets, &c., a penny, 
or other small coin, is always given by the buyer to the seller to ratify 
the bargain. Httdibras. Anciently this was called a " God's penny. 

" With that he cast him a God's penny." Heir of Linne. 
The origin of the phrase being lost sight of, like that of many others, 
it is often used as a modification of "Strike me blind !" and is now and 
again corrupted into " Strike me silly I" A foolish variation of this is 
" Strike me up a gum-tree 1" 

Strills, cheating lies. North Country Cant. 

String, to hoax, to "get in a line." 

Stroke, the captain of a crew, the man who sets the pace, and is gene- 
rally the leading spirit in the boat. The coxswain usually looks after 
University men when they are in training, so that they may not fall 
into excesses, the STROKE having quite enough to do to attend to his 
own training. Of late years University crews have placed themselves 
under the guidance and tuition of "coaches," generally ex-University 
men of great ability and experience. 

Strommel, straw. Ancient Cant. Halliwell says that in Norfolk 
STRUMMEL is a name for hair. 

Strong, "to come it STRONG." See COME. 

Stuck, moneyless. See STICK. 

Stuck-up, purse-proud a form of snobbishness very common in those 
who have risen in the world, especially among those who have risen 
rather suddenly. Albert Smith wrote some amusing papers on the 
Natural History of STUCK-UP People. 

Stuff, money. 

Stuff, to make false but plausible statements, to praise ironically, to make 
game of a person, literally, to STUFF or cram him with gammon or 

Stump, to go on foot. 

Stump, to go about speechmaking on politics or other subjects. Origi- 
nally an Americanism applied to the lowest class of candidates for 
iegislatorial honours, probably because they stood on a STUMP to ad- 
dress their audiences. Maybe, also, because their utterances were short 
and pithy. This latter reason would, however, hardly apply to our 
representatives of the STUMP class, "the Leaguers," who are, as a 
rule, as long-winded as they are illogical. 

Stump up, to give one's share, to pay the reckoning, to bring 'orth the 
money reluctantly. 

Stumped, bowled out, done for, bankrupt, povert j -stricken. From tha 
cricketing term. 

Stumps, legs, or feet. 

Stumpy, money. 

Stun, to astonish. 


Stunner, a first-rate person or article. 

Stunners, feelings of great astonishment; "it put the STUNNERS on 
me," i.e., it confounded me. 

Stunning, first-rate, very good, really, astonishing. Costermongers call 
anything extra good, STUNNING. Sometimes amplified to STUNNING 
JOE BANKS ! when the expression is supposed to I _ in its most intense 
form. Joe Banks was a noted character in the last generation. He 
was the proprietor of a public-house in Dyott Street, Seven Dials, and 
afterwards, on the demolition of the Kookery, of another in Cran- 
bourn Alley. His houses became well-known from their being the 
resort of the worst characters, while at the same time the strictest de- 
corum was always maintained in them. Joe Banks also acquired a 
remarkable notoriety by acting as a medium betwixt thieves and their 
victims. Upon the proper payment to Joe, a watch or a snuff-box 
would at any time be restored to its lawful owner " no questions in 
any case being asked." The most daring depredators in London 
placed the fullest confidence in Joe, and it is believed (although the 
Biographie Universelle is quiet upon this point) that he never, in any 
instance, " sold" them. He was of the middle height, stout, and 
strongly made, and was always noted for a showy pin and a remark- 
ably STUNNING neck-tie. It was this peculiarity in the costume of 
Mr. Banks, coupled with those true and tried qualities as a friend for 
which he was famous, that led his customers to proclaim him as 
STUNNING JOE BANKS ! The Marquis of Douro, Colonel Chatterley, 
and men of their stamp, were accustomed to resort to a private-room 
at his house, when too late (or too early) to gain admittance to the clubs 
or more aristocratic establishments. 

Sub, a subaltern officer in the army. 

Sub, all. Anglo-Indian. 

Sub, to draw money in advance ; a term in use among workmen generally, 
and those with casual employment in particular. Most likely from 

Sublime rascal, a lawyer. 

Suck, a parasite, a flatterer of the "nobs." University. 

Suck, to pump, or draw information from a person. 

Suck-casa, a public-house. Lingua Franca. 

Suck the mop, to be the victim of an omnibus nursing exploit. When 
an omnibus is being nursed, the driver of the hindmost vehicle keeps 
so close to his opponent that the horses get their heads almost into the 
doorway. The nursed omnibus is then said to SUCK THE MOP. 
Nursing is, thanks to tramways and the Metropolis Streets Act, almost 
a thing of the past. At the East-end, however, it still goes merrily oo. 

Suck the monkey, to rob a cask of liquor by inserting a straw through 
a gimlet-hole, and sucking a portion of the contents. Originally, as 
Captain Marryatt states, to SUCK THE MONKEY, was to suck rum from 
cocoa-nuts, which spirit had been inserted in place of the milk, for the 
private use of the sailors. See TAP THE ADMIRAL. 


Suck up, " to SUCK UP to a person," to insinuate oneself into his good 

Sudden death. In tossing, to be decided by the first call is to "GO 
SUDDEN DEATH," as distinguished from the longer forms of "best 
two out of three," and " first three." At the Universities a crumpet, 
or Sally Lunn, is so called. 

Sufferer, a tailor ; the loser at any game. 

Sugar, money. 

Suicide, four horses driven in a line. See HARUM-SCARUM. 

Sulky, a one-horse chaise, having only room for one person. Used now- 
adays only in trotting matches. 

Sumsy, an action of assumpsit. Legal Slang. 

Sun in the eyes, too much drink. A person who is tipsy is said to 
have the SUN IN HIS EYES. He is also said to have been " standing 
too long in the SUN." 

Supe, or super, abbreviation of SUPERNUMERARY. Theatrical. 
Super, a watch ; SUPER-SCREWING, stealing watches. 

Surat, an adulterated article of inferior quality. This word affords a 
remarkable instance of the manner in which slang phrases are coined. 
In the report of an action for libel in the Times, some few years back, 
it was stated "that, since the American civil war, it has been not un- 
usual for manufacturers to mix American cotton with surat, and, the 
latter being an inferior article, the people in Lancashire have begun to 
apply the term SURAT to any article of inferior or adulterated quality. 
The plaintiffs were brewers, and the action was brought to recover 
special damages resulting from the publication of an advertisement i 
these words : ' All in want of beerhouses must beware of Beaumont 
and White, the SURAT brewers.' " 

Surf, an actor who frequently pursues another calling. Theatrical. 
SURF, or SERF, is also a term much in use among the lower orders to 
denote a crawling or sycophantic wretch. 

Suspicion, a scarcely perceptible flavour ; as, " There wm jut a SUS- 
PICION of oil in the mixture." French, SOUPCON. 

Swab, an epaulet. Sea. 

Swack-up, a falsehood. 

Swaddler, a Wesleyan Methodist ; a name originally given to member* 
of that body by the Irish mob ; said to have originated with an 
ignorant Romanist, to whom the words of the English Bible were a 
novelty, and who, hearing one of John Wesley's preachers mention the 
vaddling clothes of the Holy Infant, in a sermon on Christmas-day 
at Dublin, shouted out in derision, " A SWADDLER ! a SWADDLER !" as 
if the whole story were the preacher's invention. Soulhtjfs Life of 
Wesley, vol. ii. p. 109. See introductory article. 

Swaddler, set sou PER. 

Swaddy, or COOLIE, a soldier. The former was originally applied to j 
discharged soldier, and perhaps came from SHODDY, which is made 


from soldiers' and policemen's worn-out coats. The term was one of 
opprobrium, and was probably the result of a long peace, for it became 
obsolete as soon as the Crimean War commenced. 

Swag, a lot or plenty of anything, a portion or division of property. In 
Australia the term is used for the luggage carried by diggers. Scotch, 
SWEG, or SWACK ; German, SWEIG, a flock. Old cant for a shop. 

Swag-shop, a warehouse where "Brummagem" and general wares, 
fancy trinkets, plated goods, &c., are sold. Jews are the general pro- 
prietors ; and the goods are very low-priced, trashy, and showy. 
SWAG-SHOPS were formerly plunder depots. Old Cant. 

Swagsman, one who carries the booty after a burglary. 

Swank, to boast or "gas" unduly. 

Swankey, cheap or small beer. Any weak fermented beverage. 

Swap, to exchange. Grose says it is Irish cant, but the term is now in* 
eluded in most dictionaries as an allowed vulgarism. 

Swarry, a boiled leg of mutton and trimmings. Sam Welter's adventure 
with the Bath footmen originated the term. See TRIMMINGS. 

Swatchel-COVe, the master of a Punch-and-Judy exhibition who 
" fakes the slum," and does the necessary squeak for the amusement of 
the bystanders. See SCHWASSLE BOX. The orthography of many of 
these colloquial expressions differs. It was thought best to give the 
various renderings as collected. 

Sweat, to extract money from a person, to "bleed." Also, to squander 
riches. Bulwer. 

Sweat, to violently shake up a lot of guineas or sovereigns in a leathern 
bag for the purpose of benefiting by the perspiration. 

Sweater, common term for a "cutting" or "grinding" employer, one 
who SWEATS his workpeople. A cheap tailor, who pays starvation wages. 

Sweep, a contemptuous term for a low or shabby man. 

Sweet, loving or fond; " how SWEET he was upon the moll," *.*., what 
marked attention he paid the girl. 

Sweetener, a person who runs up the prices of articles at an auction. 


Swell, a man of importance ; a person with a showy, jaunty exterior, "a 
rank SWELL," a very flashily dressed person, a man who by excessive 
dress apes a higher position than he actually occupies. Any one occu- 
pying a superior position in society is by the mob called a SWELL. 
Anything is said to be SWELL or SWELLISH that looks showy, or is 
many coloured, or is of a desirable quality. Dickens and Thackeray 
were termed great SWELLS in literature, and so are the first persons in 
the learned professions SWELLS in thir way. 

Swell hung in chains, said of a showy man in the habit of wearing 
much jewellery. 

Swell street, the West-end of London. 

Swig, a hearty drink. 

Swig, to drink. Saxon, SWIGAN. 


Swill, to drink inordinately. SWILL, hog-wash. From which the verb 
has possibly been derived. Norfolk. 

Swim, "a good SWIM," a good run of luck, a long time out of the police- 
man s clutches. Thieves' term. Among anglers " a good SWIM" is a 
good pitch for a part where fish are plentiful that is, because a lot of 
fish keeping together are called a SWIM. Thus one who is in luck, is well 
connected, or is doing a good business, is said to be in a good SWIM. 

Swindler, although a recognised word in standard dictionaries, com- 
menced service as a slang term. It was used as such by the poor 
Londoners against the German Jews who set up in London about the 
year 1762, also by our soldiers in the German war about that time. 
SCHWINDELN, in German, signifies to cheat. 

Swing. To have one's SWING is to have a full turn at anything. 

Swing^to be hanged; "if you don't do what's right, I'll SWING for 
you," i.e., take your life, a common threat in low neighbourhoods. 

Swingeing, large, huge, powerful. As a SWINGEING blow, SWINGEING 
damages, &c. 

Swipe, at cricket, to hit hard with a full swing of the bat. Most pro- 
bably a condensation of "wipe swingeing" or " swinging wipe." 

Swipes, sour or small beer. SWIPE, to drink. Sea, 

Swipey (from SWIPES), intoxicated. 

Swish, to flcg, derived perhaps from the sound. Maybe, a corruption of 


Swished, or SWITCHED, married. 

Swivel-eye, a squinting eye. 

Swizzle, small beer, drink. 

Swot, mathematics ; also, a mathematician ; as a verb, to work hard for 

an examination, to be diligent in one's studies. Army. 
This word originated at the great slang manufactory for the army, 

the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in the broad Scotch pronuncia- 

tion by Dr. Wallace, one of the Professors, of the word sweat. It 

has since become fashionable at the Universities. 
Syce, a groom. Anglo-Indian. 
T, "to suit to a T," to fit to a nicety. Old. Perhaps from the T-square 

of carpenters, by which the accuracy of work is tested. 
Tabby party, a party consisting entirely of women, a tea and tattle gather- 

ing. In America, a gathering of men only is called a "stag 

Tabooed, forbidden. This word, now very common, is derived from a 

custom of the South-Sea islanders, first noticed in Cook's Voyages. 

Tack, a taste foreign to what was intended ; a barrel may get a TACK 
upon it, either permanently mouldy, sour, or otherwise. 

Tacked, tied down. When a man has another vanquished, or for certain 
reasons bound to his service, he is said to have " got him TACKED." 

Tackle, clothes. Sea. Also to encounter a person in argument. 

Taffy (corruption of David), a Welshman. Compare Sawney (from 


Alexander), a Scotchman ; Paddy (from Patrick), an Irishman ; and 
Johnny (from John Bull), an Englishman. 

Tag-rag-and-bobtail, a mixed crowd of low people, the lower orders 

Tail-block, a watch. Sea, 

Tail -buzzer, a thief who picks coat-pockets. 

Pail-clown, " to get the TAIL DOWN," generally means to lose courage. 
When a professional at any game loses heart in a match he is said to 
get his TAIL DOWN. " His TAIL was quite DOWN, and it was all over." 
The origin is obvious. 

Take, to succeed, or be patronized. " Do you think the new opera will 
TAKE?" " No, because the same company TOOK so badly under the 
old management." "To TAKE on," to grieve; Shakspeare uses the 
word TAKING in this sense. To " TAKE up for any one," to protect 
or defend a person ; "to TAKE off," to mimic ; " to TAKE heart," to 
have courage ; "to TAKE down a peg or two," to humiliate, or tame ; 
" to TAKE up," to reprove ; "to TAKE after," to resemble ; " to TAKE 
in," to cheat or defraud, probably from the lower class lodging-house- 
keepers' advertisements, " Single men TAKEN in and done for," an 
engagement which is as frequently performed in a bad as a good sense ; 
in reference to this performance, Scripture is often quoted : "I was a 
stranger and ye TOOK me in." "To TAKEthefield," when said of a 
general, to commence operations against the enemy. When a racing 
man TAKES the field he stakes his money against the favourite, that is, 
he takes the chances of the field against the chance of one horse. 

Take beef, to run away. 

Take in, a cheating or swindling transaction, sometimes termed "a 
dead TAKE IN." Shakspeare has TAKE IN in the sense of conquering. 
To be "had," or to be "spoken to," were formerly synonymous phrases 
with to be TAKEN IN. 

Take it out, to obtain value for money, labour, &c. A rich man is said 
to "TAKE IT (i.e., his money) OUT in fine footmen, fine feeding," &c. 
A poor man "TAKES IT (i.e., his trouble) OUT in drink." 

Talking, a stable term, of a milder kind, applied to those horses which 
are addicted to ROARING. See the latter expression. 

Talk Shop, to intrude oneself or one's private business too freely into 
conversation. Any one who does this is said to be shoppy. 

Tall, extensive, exaggerated, generally applied to conversation, as "loud" 
is to dress, or personal appearance ; " TALL talk that," i.e., conversa- 
tion too boastful or high-flown to be true. Among pedestrians a grea* 
rate of sf>eed is spoken of as TALL. 

Tally, five dozen bunches of turnips. CostermongerJ term. 

Tally, " to live TALLY," to live in a state of unmarried impropriety ; TALLY- 
WIFE, a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not married. 

Tallyman, an accommodating salesman who takes payment by instal- 
ments to suit the convenience of the purchaser, but who is anything but 
accommodating when payments are irpegular. TALLYMEN are the 
cause of much misfortune to the working classes, from their high and 


exorbitant rates, and the temptations they offer to weak-minded 
women, who purchase in haste and repent at leisure. 
Tan, to beat or thrash ; " I'll TAN your hide," i.e., I'll give you a good 


Tan, an order to pull. Anglo-Indian. 
Tanner, a sixpence. Perhaps Gipsy, TAWNO, little, or Latin, TENER, 


Tanny, or TEENY, little. Gipsy, TAWNO, little. 

Tantrems, pranks, capers, frolicking ; from the Tarantula dance. See 
account of the involuntary frenzy and motions caused by the bite of the 
tarantula in Italy. Penny Cyclopedia. 

Tantrums, ill-tempers. "He's in his TANTRUMS this morning," is often 
said of a peevish, querulous man. They are not peculiar to the one 
sex, however. 

Tap the Admiral, to suck liquor from a cask by means of a straw, 
said to have been done with the rum-cask in which Lord Nelson's body 
was brought to England, to such an extent as to leave the gallant 
Admiral dry. 

Tap-tub, the Morning Advertiser, so called by vulgar people from the 
fact that this daily newspaper is the principal organ of the London 
brewers and publicans. Sometimes termed the Gin and Gospel Gazette, 
though this title is fast fading out since the paper has been in the hands 
of its present editor. 
Tape, gin, term with female servants. Also, a military term used in 

barracks when no spirits are allowed. See RIBBON. 
Taper, to give over gradually, to run short. 
Taradiddle, a falsehood. 

Tar-brush, a person whose complexion indicates a mixture of negro 
blood, is said to have had a lick of the TAR-BRUSH. Sometimes a 
man of this description is said to have been dipped in the black-pot, 
and he is often reminded that "another dip would have done it," i.e., 
another dip would have made a negro of him. 
Tar-OUt, to punish, to serve out. 
Tarpaulin, a sailor. 

Tartar, a savage fellow, an " ugly customer." To " catch a TARTAR," 
is to discover somewhat unpleasantly that a person is by no means so 
mild or good-tempered as he or she at first appeared. 
Tat-box, a dice-box. 
Tater " s'elp myTATER," an evasion of a profane oath, sometimes varied 

by "s'elp my greens." 

Tatler, a watch ; " nimming a TATLER," stealing a watch. 
Tats, dice. 

Tats, old rags ; milky TATS, white rags. 
Tatterdemalion, a ragged fellow. 
Tatting, gathering old rags. 
TattO, vow}. Anglo- India*. 


Taw, a large or principal marble ; " I'll be one on your TAW," I will pay 
you out, or be even with you, a simile taken from boys aiming always 
at winning the TAW when playing at marbles. 

Tea-fight, an evening party, alias a " muffin- worry." 

Tea-spoon, five thousand pounds. See SPOONS. 

Teagueland, Ireland. From the national character of the name 

Teeth, " he has cut his eye TEETH," i.e., is old and 'cute enough. 

Teeth-drawing, wrenching off knockers. Medical students' term. 

Teddy Hall, St. Edmund Hall. Oxford University. 

Teetotaller, a total abstainer from alcoholic drinks. The origin of this 
term is not known. It is said to be from the expression of a fanatical 
and stuttering enthusiast in the cause of total abstinence. It has nothing 
to do with tea. 

Teetotally, amplification of TOTALLY. 

Te-he, to titter, " Upon this I TE-HE'D." Madame d'Arblay, As an 
interjection it is as old as Chaucer. See Miller's Tale: 

" TE-HE, quod she, and clapt the window to." 
Tell on f to tell about, to talk of, to inform against. (This is formed 

by a simple misuse of the preposition. ) 

Ten commandments, a virago's fingers, or nails. Often heard in a 

female street disturbance. " I'll leave the TEN COMMANDMENTS 

marked on his chump," shows that the term may be applied to either 

the fingers or the scratchings. It would be a strange hand, however, 

that, with the best opportunity, could made five marks simultaneously. 

Tench, the Penitentiary, of which it is a contraction. See STEEL. 

Tenpence to the shilling, a vulgar phrase denoting a deficiency in 


Testamur, the slip of paper ^n which the examiners testify (testari) 
to the fact that the candidate has satisfied their requirements. 

Tester, sixpence. From TESTONE, a shilling in the reign of Henry VIII., 
but a sixpence in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Shakspeare. French, 
TESTE, or TTE, the head of the monarch on the com. 
Teviss, a shilling. Costermongers' and tramps' term. 
Thatch, the human hair. " He's well THATCHED," is said of a man 

with a good head of hair. 

The Tavern, New Inn Hall. Oxford University. 
The thing, the style, the proper proportion. Application varied. A 
good appearance, a decent dinner, or a fair bottle of wine, is said to be 
" the THING," sometimes " the cnrrect THING." 
Thick, intimate, familiar. The Stotch use the word " chief" hi this 

sense, as, " the two are very chief now." 
Thick; " to lay it on THICK,'' to flatter unduly, to surfeit with praise or 

Thick un, a sovereign j originally a crown piece, or five shillings. 


Thimble, or YACK, a watch. Prison Cant. 

Thimble-rig, a noted cheating game some years back, played at fairs 
and places of great public thronging, consisting of two or three thimbles 
rapidly and dexterously placed over a pea. The THIMBLE-RIGGER, 
suddenly ceasing, asks under which thimble the pea is to be found. 
Any one not a practised hand would lose nine times out of ten any bet 
he might happen to make with Mm. The pea is generally concealed 
under his nail. THIMBLE-RIGGING has of late years given way to 
" broad- working." 

Thimble-twisters, thieves who rob persons of their watches. 

Thingumy, THINGUMBOB, expressions used for the name of a thing 
which cannot be recollected at the instant. 

Thin-skinned, over-nice, petulant, apt to get a " raw." See that term 

Three-cornered soraper, a cocked hat. Sea, 

Three Sheets in the Wind, unsteady from drink. Sea. 

Three-up, a gambling game played by costers and others of like grade. 
Three halfpennies are thrown up by one man to the call of another. 
If they do not come all alike, the cry is void, and the calling and toss- 
ing are resumed. When the three coins are all alike they are said to 
"' come off," and then all bets are decided according to the success or 
failure of the caller. When two men toss, they play " up for up," ./., 
they toss and cry alternately. When three or more join in, the gather- 
ing is named a school, and one man, who is called a pieman, cries to 
the halfpence of the others until he loses, when the winner of the toss 
becomes pieman in turn. 

Through, finished. In America, where this word is most used in the 
sense now given, a guest who has had enough will, when asked to take 
more, say, " I'm THROUGH," which is certainly preferable to the other 
Americanism, " crammed." 

Thrummer, a threepenny bit. 

Thrums, threepence. Also, in Coventry, remnants and waste pieces of 

Thrups, threepence: See the preceding, which is more general. 

Thud, the dull, dead sound made by the fall of a heavy body, or the 
striking of a bullet against any soft, fleshy substance. 

Thumper, a magnificently constructed lie, a lie about which there is no 
stint of imaginative power. 

Thumping, large, fine, or strong. 

Thunderbomb, an imaginary ship of vast size. See MERRY DUN Of 

Thunderer, the Times newspaper, sometimes termed "the THUNDERER 
of Printing House Square, from the locality where it is printed. 

Thundering, large, extra-sized. 

Tibbing out, going out of bounds. Charterhouse. 

Tibby, the head. Street slang, with no known etymology. To drop on 
one's TIBBY is to frighten or startU any one, to take one unawares. 


Tib's ere, " neither before Christmas nor after," an indefinite period; 
like the Greek Kalends, TIB'S EVE has a future application ; an inde- 
finite period of past time is sometimes said to be " when Adam was an 
oakum-boy in Chatham Dockyard." "The reign of Queen Dick" is 
v another form of this kind of expression, and is used to indicate either 
past time or future. 

Tick, credit, trust. Johnson says it is a corruption of "ticket," trades- 
men's bills being formerly written on tickets or cards. On TICK, 
therefore, is equivalent to on TICKET, or on trust In use in 1668, and 
before, as follows : 

" No matter upon landing whether you have money or no you may swim in 
twentie of their boats over the river upon TICKET. Decker's Gulls' Hornbook, 

Ticker, a watch. Formerly cant, now street slang. 

Ticket, " that's the TICKET," i.e., that's what is wanted, or what is best 
Probable corruption of " that's etiquette," or, perhaps, from TICKET, a 
bill or invoice. This phrase is sometimes extended into " that's the 
TICKET for soup," in allusion to the card given to beggars for imme- 
diate relief at soup kitchens. See TICK. 

Tickle, to puzzle ; "a reglar TICKLER" is a poser. 
Tiddlywlnk, slim, puny ; sometimes TILLYWINK. 

Tidy, tolerably, or pretty well ; " How did you get on to-day?" " Oh, 
TIDY." Saxon. 

Tie, a dead heat. A game of any kind, in which the possibility exists, is 
said to end in a tie, if the markings are level on each side at the finish. 
In racing parlance, all level finishes are called dead-heats. 

Tied up, given over, finished ; also married, in allusion to the hymeneal 
knot, unless a jocose allusion be intended to the " halter" (altar). See 
BUCKLED, term in use among costermongers and street folk generally. 

Tiff, a pet, a fit of ill humour. 

Tiffin, a breakfast, deje&ner a la fourchette. Anglo-Indian Slang. 

Tiffy, easily offended, apt to be annoyed. 

Tiger, a parasite ; also a term for a ferocious woman ; a boy employed to 
wait on gentlemen one who waits on ladies is a page. 

Tiger, a superlative yell. "Three cheers, and the last in TIGERS." 
American. To " fight the TIGER" is also American, and refers to 
gambling with professionals dangerous pastime. 

Tight, close, stingy; hard up, short of cash; TIGHT, spruce, strong, active; 
" a TIGHT lad," a smart, active young fellow ; TIGHT, drunk, or nearly 
so, generally the result of "going on the loose;" " TiGHT-laced, ' 
puritanical, over-precise. Money is said to be TIGHT when the public, 
from want of confidence in the aspect of affairs, are not inclined to 

Tightener, a dinner, or hearty meal. See SPITALFlELDs' BREAKFAST. 

Tike-, or BUFFER-LURKING, dog-stealing. 


Tile, hat , a covering for the head. 

" I'm a gent, I'm a gent, 

In the Regent-Street style, 
Examine my costume, 
And look at my TILK." Popular Sc*f. 

Sometimes used in another sense, "having a TILE loose," i>., being 
slightly crazy. See PANTILE. 

Timber merchant, or SPUNK FENCER, a lucifer-match seller. 

Timber-toes, a wooden-legged man. Also at the East-end one who 
wears clogs, i.e., wooden soled boots. 

Time, cabman's slang for money. If they wish to express gs. gd. they 
say that " it is a quarter to ten ;" if 33. 6d., half-past three ; if us. gd. 
a quarter to twelve. Cab-drivers can hardly have originated a system 
which has been in existence as long as the adage, " Time is money." 
They have, however, the full use of the arrangement, which is perhaps 
the simplest on record. 

Time, TO DO, to work out a sentence of imprisonment. Time is the 
generic term for all quantities of incarceration, whether short or long. 
Sometimes stir-time (imprisonment in the House of Correction) is dis- 
tinguished from the more extended system of punishment which is 
called "pinnel (penal) time." 

Time o' day, a dodge, the latest aspect of affairs; "that's your TIME 
o' DAY," i.e., that's well done ; to put a person up to the TIME O'DAY, 
or let him know " what's o'clock," is to instruct him in the knowledge 
needful for him. 

Tin, money, generally applied to silver. 

Tinge, the per-centage allowed by drapers and clothiers to their assistants 
upon the sale of old-fashioned articles. See SPIFFS. 

Tinkler, a bell. "Jerk the TINKLER," ring the bell. Refined or 
affected slangists sometimes say, "Agitate the communicator," which, 
though it represents "ring the bell," should more properly mean "pull 
the cord." 

Tin-pot, "he plays a TIN-POT game," i.e., alow, mean, or shabby game. 
In the Conies d Eutrapel, a French officer at the siege of Chatillon is 
ridiculously spoken of as Captain TlN-POT Capitainedu Pot d'Etain. 
TIN-POT, as generally used, means worthless. As applied to billiards 
and kindred games, it means pretentious and inferior play. 

Tip, advice or information respecting anything, but mostly used in 
reference to horse-racing, so that the person TIPPED may know how to 
bet to the best advantage. The "straight TIP" is the TIP which 
comes direct from the owner or irainer of a horse. Of late years a 
" straight TIP" means a direct hint on any subject. 

Tip, a douceur; "that's the TIP," t.e., that's the proper thing to do. 
" To miss one's TIP," to fail in a scheme. Old Cant. 

Tip, to give, lend, or hand over anything to another person ; " come, TIP 
up the tin," i.e., hand up the money ; "TIP the wink," to inform bpr 
winking; "TIP us your fin," i.e., give me your hand ; "TIP ones 
boom off," to make orf, or depart From the seafaring phrase. 


Tip the double, to "bolt," or run away from any one. 

Tip-top, first-rate, of the best kind. 

Tip-topper, a " swell," or dressy man, a " Gorger." 

Tipper, a kind of ale brewed at Brighton. Mrs- Gamp preferred the 
" Brighton TIPPER." 

Tipster, a " turf" agent who collects early and generally special informa- 
tion of the condition and racing capabilities of horses in the training 
districts, and posts the same to his subscribers to guide their betting. 

"The racing TIPSTERS have much less patronage than formerly, before 
" Geoffry Greenhorn" laid a trap for them, and published the tips he received 
in The Life. Professor Ingledue, M. A., the mesmerist, is silent ; and if their 
subscribers, 'for whose interests I have collected my old and able staff, with 
many additional ones, who are already at work in the training districts,' could 
only get a sight of the ' old and able staff/ they would find it consisting of a 
man and a boy, at work in the back room of a London public-house, and send- 
ing different winners for every race to their subscribers." Post and Paddock, 
by the " Druid." 

There are, however, whatever non-racing men may think, many " touts" 
whose information is valuable to even the " best informed" writers. 

Tit, a favourite name for a horse. 

"They scorned the coach, they scorned the rails, 
Two spanking tits with streaming tails, 
Them swiftly onward drew." End of All Things. 

Tit for tat, an equivalent. 

Titivate, to put in order, or dress up. Originally TIDY-VATB. 

Titley, drink, generally applied to intoxicating beverages. 

Titter, a girl ; " nark the TITTER," i.e., look at the girl. Tramp f term. 

Tizzy, a sixpence. Corruption of TESTER. 

Toad-in-the-hole, a kind of pudding, consisting of small pieces of meat 
immersed in batter, and baked. Also, a term applied to perambulating 
advertising mediums. See SANDWICH. 

Toasting-fork, a regulation sword, indicative of the general uselessness 
of that weapon. 

Toby, the road. The highwayman or swell robber was in old days said 
to be on the high TOBY, from the high or main road, while those 
meaner fellows, the footpad and the cutpurse, were but "low TOBY- 
MEN," from their frequenting the by- ways. 

To-do (pronounced quickly, and as one word), a disturbance, trouble ; 
" here's a pretty TO-DO," here is an unpleasant difficulty. This exactly 
tallies with the Frttuh, AFFAIRE (a fain). See Forby $ Vocabulary of 
East Anglia. 

To the nines, to the' dodges of the day. " He's up to the NINES," 
means he's up to everything. " Dressed to the NINES," means dressed 
loudly, or, as it is more generally known now, "dressed to death." 

Toddle, to walk as a child. 

Toe, to kick. " I'll TOE your backside." Common in London. 

a dandy, a swell of rank. Corruption probably of TUFT. See TOFT, 


Toffer, a well-dressed "gay " woman. One who deals with TOFF*. 

Tofficky, dressy, showy. 

Toft, a showy individual, a swell, a person who, in a Yorkshireman's 

vocabulary, would be termed " uppish." See TUFT. 
Tog, a coat. Latin, TOGA. Ancient Cant. 
Tog, to dress, or equip with an outfit ; " TOGGED out to the nines," 

dressed in the first style. 

Toggery, clothes, harness, domestic paraphernalia of any kind. 
Togs, clothes ; "Sunday TOGS," best clothes. One of the oldest cant 

words in use in the time of Henry VIII. See CANT. 
Toke, dry bread. Sometimes used to denote a lump of anything. 
Toko for yam, a Roland for an Oliver. Possibly from a system of 

barter carried on between sailors and aborigines. 
Tol-lol, or TOL-LOLLISH, tolerable, or tolerably. 
Toll-shop, a Yorkshire correspondent gives this word as denoting in that 

county a prison, and also the following verse of a song, popular at fairs 

in the East Riding : 

" But if iwer he get out agean, 
And can but raise a friiul, 
Oh 1 the divel may tak' TOLL-SHOF, 
At Beverley town-end !" 

This is but a variation of the Scottish TOLBOOTH. 

Tom, e.g., " after TOM," after the hour at which Big TOM of Christchurch 
rings. At its last stroke the gates are closed, and undergrads entering 
after have to pay an increasing sum for each hour up to twelve. To 
be out after that involves an interview with the Master. Oxford 

Tom and Jerry shop, a low drinking shop. Probably some allusion 
to Pierce Egan's famous characters in his Life in London. Generally 
contracted to JERRY SHOP. 

Tom Toppers, a waterman, from a popular song, entitled, Overboard he 

Tom Tug, a waterman. From the small stage-play. Also rhyming 
slang for a flat, or rather a "mug." 

Tomboy, a hoyden, a rude romping girl. 

Tombstone, a pawn-ticket "In memory of" whatever has been 
pawned, a well-known slang expression with those Londoners who 
are in the habit of following " my uncle." 

Tomfoolery, nonsense ; trashy, mild, and innocuous literature. 

Tom-fool's colours, scarlet and yellow, the ancient motley. Occa- 
sionally, as a rhyme of quality suitable to the subject, 

" Red and yellow, 
TOM FOOL'S colour." 

A proposition is said to be TOM FOOL when it is too ridiculous to be 
entertained or discussed. 
Tom-tom, a street instrument, a kind of small drum beaten with rh* 


fingers, somewhat like the ancient tabor ; a performer on this instru- 
ment " Hark I 'tis the Indian drum." 

Tommy. See DICKEY. 

^Ommy, bread, food generally. Sometimes applied by workmen to 
the supply of food which they carry in a bag or handkerchief as their 
daily allowance. TOMMY-BAG is the term for the bag or handkerchiei 
in which the " daily bread" is carried. 

Tommy, truck, barter, the exchange of labour for goods, not money. 

Both term and practice, general among English operatives for half-a- 

century, are by a current fiction supposed to have been abolished by 

Act of Parliament. 
Tommy Dodd, in tossing when the odd man either wins or loses, as per 

agreement. A phrase in frequent use in London. A music-hall song 

has been given with this title and on this subject. 
Tommy-master, one who pays his workmen in goods, or gives them 

tickets upon tradesmen, with whom he shares the profit. 
Tommy-shop, a shop where wages are paid to mechanics or others, 

who are expected to "take out" a portion of the money in goods. 

Also, a baker's shop. 
Tongue, "to TONGUE a person," i.e. t to talk him down. TONGUEI\ 

Tony IiUmpkin, a young, clownish country fellow. From She Stoopt 

to Conquer. 

Tool, as " a poor TOOL," a bad hand at anything. 
Tool, to drive a coach, or any other vehicle. To "handle the ribbons" 

in fine style. 
Tool, a very little boy employed by burglars to enter at small apertures, 

and open doors for the larger thieves outside. 
Tooler, a pickpocket. MOLL-TOOLER, a female pickpocket 
Tooley Street tailor, a self-conceited, vainglorious man. The 

" three tailors of Tooley Street" are said to have immortalized them- 
selves by preparing a petition for Parliament and some say, present- 
ing it with only their own signatures thereto, which commenced, 

" We, the people of England." 
Tooth, "he has cut his eye TOOTH," i.e., he is sharp enough, or old 

enough, to do so ; "old in the TOOTH," far advanced in age, said 

often of old maids. From the stable term for aged horses which have 

lost the distinguishing marks in their teeth. 
Tootsies, feet, those of ladies and children in particular. In married 

life it is said the husband uses this expression for the first six months 

after that he terms them " hoofs." 
Top, the signal among tailors and sempstresses for snuffing the candle ; 

one cries TOP, and all the others follow ; he who last pronounces th 

word has to snuff the candle. 
Top-dressing, in journalism, is the large-type introduction to a report, 

generally written by a man of higher literary attainments than the 

ordinary reporter who follows with the details. 


Top -heavy, drunk. 

Top-sawyer, the principal of a party, or profession. " A TOP-SAWYER 
signifies a man that is a master-genius in any profession. It is a piece 
of Norfolk slang, and took its rise from Norfolk being a great timber 
county, where the TOP SAWYERS get double the wages of those beneath 
them." Randall's Diary, 1820. 

Top up, a finishing drink. " He drank two bottles of claret and one of 
port, which he TOPPED up with half a bottle of brandy." 

Topped, hanged, or executed. 

Topper, anything or person above the ordinary; a blow on the head. "Give 
him a TOPPER and chance it," " Let him have a TOPPER for luck." 

Topper, the tobacco which is left in the bottom of a pipe-bowl lnau a 
nan lutendo ; or the stump of a smoked cigar. TOPPER-HUNTERS are 
men who pick up cigar ends and odd pieces of stale tobacco, which 
they mix and chop up for home consumption or sale. 

Topsy-turvy, the bottom upwards. Grose gives an ingenious etymology 
of this once cant term, viz., " top-side turf-ways," turf being always 
laid the wrong side upwards. This is so far ingenious that it creates a 
fact for the purpose of arguing from it. Turfs are laid with the grass 
part together during carriage ; so, anyhow, the definition could be only 
half right. In fact, TOPSY-TURVY is but short for " top-side t'other way." 

To-right 8, excellent, very well, or good. Low London slang. 

Tormentors, the large iron flesh-forks used by cooks at sea. 

Torpids, the second-class race-boats at Oxford, answering to the Cam- 
bridge " sloggers." 

Toshers, men who steal copper from ships' bottoms in the Thames. 

TOSS, a measure of sprats. Billingsgate. 

Tot, a small glass ; a " TOT o' whisky" is the smallest quantity sold. 

Tot-up, to add together, as columns of figures, s ' & From TOTAL- 
UP, through the vulgarism TOTTLE. 

Totting, bone-picking, either peripatetically or at the dust-heap*. 
T OT i s a bone, but chiffoniers and cinder-hunters generally are 
called TOT-PICKERS nowadays. TOTTING also has its votaries on the 
banks of the Thames, where all kinds of flotsam and jetsam, from 
coals to carrion, are known as TOTS. 

Touch, a slang expression in common use in phrases which express the 
extent to which a person is interested or affected, " as a fourpenny 

also used at Eton in the sense of a " tip," or present of money ; and m 
sometimes said of a woman to imply her worthlessness, as, "Only a 
half-crown TOUCH." 

Touch-and-go, an expression often applied to men with whom busi- 
ness arrangements should be of the lightest possible character. Thu*, 
" He's a TOUCH-AND-GO sort of fellow. Be careful of him." 

Toucher, " as near as a TOUCHER," as near M possible without actually 


touching. Coaching term. The old Jarveys, to show their skill, used 
to drive against things so closely as absolutely to touch, yet without 
injury. This they called a TOUCHER, or TOUCH-AND-GO, which was 
hence applied to anything which was within an ace of ruin. 

Touchy, peevish, irritable. Johnson terms it a low word. 

Tout. In sporting phraseology a TOUT signifies an agent in the training 
districts, on the look-out for information as to the condition and capa- 
bilities of those horses entering for a coming race. TOUTS often get 
into trouble through entering private training-grounds. They, how- 
ever, are very highly paid, some making 40?. or 5o/. a week during 
the season. Now frequently called horse-watchers. 

Tout, to look out, or watch. 

Touter, a looker out, one who waits at railway stations and steamboat 
piers, and touts for customers ; a hotel runner. Term in general use. 

Touzle, to romp with or rumple. Scotch. 

Towel, to beat or whip. In old English phraseology a cudgel was termed 
an oaken TOWEL whence, perhaps, the verb. 

Towelling, a rubbing down with an oaken TOWEL, a beating. 

Town and. Gown. The fight, which used to come off every 5th of Novem- 
ber between the undergrads and the " cads." The sides used to shout 
respectively "TOWN !" and "GoWN !" as war-cries. Oxford University. 

Town-lout, a derogatory title at Rugby School for those pupils who 
reside with their parents in the town, in contradistinction from those 
who live in the boarding-houses. 

Tow-pOWS, grenadiers. From the bearskins, most likely, unless it was ori- 
ginally TALL-POWS, the grenadiers being the tallest men in the company. 

Towzary gang, swindlers who hire sale-rooms, usually in the suburbs, 
for mock auction sales of cheap and worthless goods, and who adver- 
tise their ventures as "Alarming Sacrifices," "Important Sales of 
Bankrupts' Stock," &c. The American name for a mock auctioneer 
is a " Peter Funk." 

Tracks, " to make TRACKS," to run away. See STREAK. 

Tradesman, one who thoroughly understands his business, whatever 
it may be. No better compliment can be passed on an individual, 
whether his profession be housebreaking, prizefighting, or that of a 
handicraftsman, than the significant "He's a regular TRADESMAN." 

Translator, a man who deals in old shoes or dothes, and refits them for 
cheap wear. These people generally live in or about Dudley Street, 
Seven Dials. 

Translators, second-hand boots mended and polished, and sold at a 
low price. 

Trap, a "fast" term for a carriage of any kind. TRAPS, goods and 
chattels of any kind, but especially luggage and personal effects ; in 
Australia, "swag." 

Trapesing, gadding or gossiping about in a slatternly way. Generally 
applied to girls and women iu low neighbourhoods, who wander from 


public-house to public-house, and whose clothes are carelessly fastened, 
causing them to trail on the ground. 

Traveller, name given by one tramp to another. "A TRAVELLER at 
her Majesty's expense," i.e., a transported felon, a convict. 

Tree, " up a TREE," in temporary difficulties, out of the way. American 
expression, derived from racoon or bear-hunting. When Bruin is 
TREED, or is forced up a TREE by the dogs, it means that then the tug 
of war begins. See 'COON. Hence when an opponent is fairly run to 
bay, and can by no evasion get off, he is said to be TREED. These 
expressions originated with Colonel Crockett, of backwoods celebrity. 
In Scotland the phrase is "up a close," i.e., up a passage with no 
outlet, a cul-de-sac, therefore suggestive of an unpleasant predicament. 

Triangles, a slang term foi delirium tremens, during a fit of which every- 
thing appears out of the square. 

Trimmings, the necessary adjuncts to anything cooked, but specially 
applied to a boiled leg of mutton, as turnips, potatoes, bread, beer, 
salt, &c. Bets are frequently made for a leg of mutton and TRIMMINGS. 
Or one person will forfeit the mutton if another will "stand the 
TRIMMINGS." It is generally a supper feast, held in a public-house, 
and the rule is for the landlord to charge as TRIMMINGS everything, 
except the mutton, placed on the table previous to the removal of the 
cloth. A boiled leg o" mutton and TRIMMINGS will be always known 
as a "swarry" to admirers of Sam Weller. 

Tripes, the bowels. 

" Next morning Miss Dolly complained of her TRIFKC, 
Drinking cold water had given her gripes." 

Trollies, or TROLLY-CARTS, term given by costermongers to a species of 
narrow carts, which can either be drawn by a donkey or driven by hand. 

Trolling, sauntering or idling, hence TROLL and TROLLOCKS, an idle 
slut, a "moll," which see. 

Trollop, a slatternly woman, a prostitute. 

Trot, to "run up," to oppose, to bid against at an auction. Private 
buyers at auctions know from experience how general is the opposition 
against them from dealers, " knock-outs," and other habitues of sales, 
who regard the rooms as their own peculiar domain. " We TROTTED 
him up nicely, didn't we?" i.e., we made him (the private buyer) pay 
dearly for what he bought. 

Trot out, to draw out or exploit, to show off the abilities of a compa- 
nion ; sometimes to roast for the amusement and with the assistance 
of an assembled company. 

Trotter, a tailor's man who goes round for orders. University. 

Trotter cases, shoes. 

Trotters, feet. Sheep's TROTTERS, boiled sheep's feet, a favourite strerf 

Truck, a hat from the cap on the extremity of a mast. Sea. 

Truck, to exchange or barter. 

Trucks, trousers. 


Trull, corruption of "troll" or "trollop," a dirty, slatternly woman, a 

prostitute of the lowest class. 
Trump, a good fellow; "a regular TRUMP," a jolly or good-natured 

person in allusion to a TRUMP card ; "TRUMPS may turn up," i.e., 

fortune may yet favour me. 

Trunks, short trousers worn above hose or tights. Theatrical. 
Try it on, to make attempt, generally applied to an effort at imposition. 

An extortionate charge or a begging-letter is frequently described as 

"a regular TRY-ON." 

Tub, the morning bath. To TUB has now become a regular verb, so far 
as colloquialism is concerned, though no one uses a TUB as the word 
was originally understood. 

Tub-thumping, preaching or speech-making, from the old Puritan 
fashion of " holding forth" from a tub, or beer barrel, as a mark of 
their contempt for decorated pulpits. 

Tubs, nickname for a butterman. 

Tuck, a schoolboy's term for fruit, pastry, &c. TUCK IN, or TUCK OUT, 
a good meal. 

Tuft-hunter, a hanger on to persons of quality or wealth one who 
seeks the society of wealthy people. Originally University slang, but 
now general. 

Tufts, at the University, noblemen, who pay high fees and are distin- 
guished by golden TUFTS, or tassels, in their caps. 

Tumble, to comprehend or understand. A coster was asked what he 
thought of Macbeth, and he replied, " The witches and the fighting was 
all very well, but the other moves I couldn't TUMBLE to exactly ; few 
on us can TUMBLE to the jaw-breakers ; they licks us, they do." 

Tumble to pieces, to be safely delivered, as in childbirth. 

Tune the Old COW died Of, an epithet for any ill-played or discor- 
dant piece of music. Originally the name of an old ballad, referred to 
by dramatists of Shakspeare's time. 

Tuns, a name at Pembroke College, Oxford, for small silver cups, each 
containing half a pint. Sometimes a TUN had a handle with a whistle, 
which could not be blown till the cup was empty. 

TllTf, horse-racing, and betting thereon ; " on the TURF," one who occu- 
pies himself with race-horse business ; said also of a street-walker, 
or nymph of the pave. 

Turkey merchants, dealers in plundered or contraband silk. Poul- 
terers are sometimes termed TURKEY MERCHANTS in remembrance of 
Home Tooke's answer to the boys at Eton, who wished in an aristo- 
cratic way to know what his father was : "A TURKEY MERCHANT," 
replied Tooke his father was a poulterer. TURKEY MERCHANT, 
also, was formerly slang for a driver of turkeys or geese to market. 

Turnip, an old-fashioned watch, so called from its general appearance, if 
of silver. Also called " a frying-pan." Old-fashioned gold watchei 
are called "warming-pans." 


Turn it up, to quit, change, abscond, or abandon ; "Ned has TURNED 
IT UP," i.e., run away ; " I intend TURNING IT ur," i.e., leaving my 
present abode or employment, or altering my course of life. 

Turn-out, personal show or appearance ; a man with a showy carriage 
and horses is said to have a good TURN-OUT. 

Turn-over, an apprentice who finishes with a second master the inden- 
tures he commenced with another, who has died or become bankrupt 

Turn up, a street fight ; a sudden leaving, or making off. An unex- 
pected slice of luck. Among sporting men bookmakers are said to 
have a TURN up when an unbacked horse wins. 

Turn up, to appear unexpectedly. Also to happen; "Let's wait, and 
see what will TURN UP." 

Turn up, to make sick. People are said to be TURNED up by sea-sick- 
ness, or when they are made ill by excessive smoking or drinking. 

Turned over, remanded by the magistrate or judge for want of evidence. 
Turned up, to be stopped and searched by the police. To be dis- 
charged from a police-court or essions-house ; to be acquitted. 

Turnpike sailors, beggars who go about dressed as sailors. A sar- 
castic reference to the scene of their chief voyages. 

Tusheroon, a crown piece, five shillings. Otherwise a bull or cart- 

Tussle, a row, struggle, fight, or argument 

Tussle, to struggle, or argue. 

Twelve godfathers, a jury, because they give a name to the crime 
the prisoner before them has been guilty of, whether murder or man* 
slaughter, felony or misdemeanor. Consequently it is a vulgar taunt 
to say, " You will be christened by TWELVE GODFATHERS some day 
before long." 

Twelver, a shilling. 

Twice-laid, a dish made out of cold fish and potatoes. Sea. Compare 


Twig, style. Prime TWIG, in good order and high spirits. 

Twig, to comprehend, as, " Do you TWIG ?" Also, " Hop the TWIG-' 
to decamp. 

Twist, brandy and gin mixed, 

Twist, capacity for eating, appetite ; "He's got a capital TWIST." 

Twitchety, nervous, fidgety. 

Twitter, " all in a TWITTER," in a fright or fidgety stae. 

TWO eighteener, an Americanism for a man or woman of the fasles 
kind two minutes eighteen seconds, or close thereabouts, being tht 
fastest time for a mile recorded in connexion with the Transatlantic na- 
tional sport, trotting. "Two forty on a plank road," a once favourite 
expression with a similar meaning, derived from a feat of ihe famous 
trotting mare Flora Temple, has died out since trotting has become 
fester, and courses have been prepared on a different principle. 


Two-eyed-Steak, a red-herring or bloater. Otherwise "Billingsgate 
pheasant. " 

Two-handed, expert at fisticuffs. Ambidextrous generally. 

Two-handed game, a game or proposal in which the chances are 
fairly even ; as, " I'll punch your head; " " Ah, that's a TWO-HANDED 
GAME you'll get no good at that." 

TWO to One, the pawnbroker's sign of three balls. So called because it 
is supposed by calculating humourists to be TWO TO ONE against the 
redemption of a pledged article. 

Two upon ten, or TWO PUN' TEN, an expression used by assistants to 
each other, in shops, when a customer of suspected honesty makes his 
appearance. The phrase refers to "two eyes upon ten fingers," short- 
ened as a money term to TWO PUN' TEN. When a supposed thief 
is present, one shopman asks the other if that TWO PUN 1 (pound) TEN 
matter was ever settled. The man knows at once what is meant, and 
keeps a careful watch upon the person being served. If it is not con- 
venient to speak, a piece of paper is handed to the same assistant, 
bearing the, to him, very significant amount of 

to : o 


Twopenny, the head; "tuck in your TWOPENNY, "bend down your head. 

Twopenny-halfpenny, paltry, insignificant. A TWOPENNY-HALF- 
PENNY fellow, a not uncommon expression of contempt. 

Twopenny -hops, low dancing rooms, the price of admission to which 
was formerly twopence. The clog hornpipe, the pipe dance, flash 
jigs, and hornpipes in fetters, a la Jack Sheppard, were the favourite 
movements, all entered into with great spirit. 

Twopenny rope, a lodging-house of the lowest kind, where tramps 
and cadgers sleep on sacking stretched by means of ropes. Sleeping 
at these places is called having " twopenn'orth of rope." 

Tybumia, the Portman and Grosvenor Square district. It is facetiously 
divided by the Londoners into " Tyburnia Felix," "Tyburnia Deserta," 
and "Tybumia Snobbica." The old gallows at Tyburn stood near 
the N.E. corner of Hyde Park, at the angle formed by the Edgware 
Road and the top of Oxford Street. In 1778 this was two miles out 
of London. 

Tyburn tippet, in the old hanging days, Jack Ketch's rope. 

Tye, or TIE, a neckerchief. Proper hosiers' term now, but slang thirty 
years ago, and as early as 1710. 

Tyke, a Yorkshirtfman. Term used by themselves, as well as by 
Southerners, in reference to them. 

TypO, a printer. 

Ugly, wicked, malicious, resentful. American. 

Ullages, the wine of all sorts left in the bottoms of glasses at a public 



dinner. This is emptied into a measure, and drunk behind the screen 
or in any convenient place by the waiters, which accounts for their 
stony glare and fishy appearance late in the evening. Maybe from 
Lot, ULLUS, any. 

Unbleached American, Yankee terra, since the war, for coloured 

natives of the United States. 
Uncle, the pawnbroker. See MY UNCLE. 

Under a Cloud, in difficulties. An evident reference to shady circum- 

Under the rose. .S^ROSE. 

Understandings, the feet or boots. Men who wear exceptionally 
large or thick boots, are said to possess good UNDERSTANDINGS. 

Understudy, to STUDY a part for the stage, not with the view of playing 
it at once, but so as to be ready in the event of anything happening to 
its present representative. Some actors of position, who suffer from 
delicate health, or mental weakness, have always other and inferior, but 
more robust, artists UNDERSTUDYING their parts. 

Unfortunate, a modern euphuism for a prostitute, derived from Thomas 
Hood's beautiful poem of The Bridge of Sighs : 

" One more UNFORTUNATB, 
Weary of breath, 
Rashly importunate, 
Gone to her death." 

It is almost needless to remark that the poet had no intention of using 
the word in any but its widest and most general sense. 

Unicom, a style of driving with two wheelers abreast and one leader 
termed in the United States a "spike team." "Tandem" is one 
wheeler and one leader. "Random," three horses in line. "Man- 
chester" means three horses abreast. See HARUM-SCARUM. 

Unlicked, ill-trained, uncouth, rude, and rough; an " UNLICKED cub" it 
a loutish youth who has never been taught manners ; from the tradition 
that a bear's cub, when brought into the world, has no shape or sym- 
metry until its dam licks it into form with her tongue. Possibly said 
of a boy who has been petted, i.e., who has been insufficiently thrashed 
or licked. Case of spared rod and spoilt child. 

Unparliamentary, or UNSCRIPTURAL, language, words unfit for use in 
ordinary conversation. 

Unutterables, or UNWHISPERABLES, trousers. See INEXPRESSIBLES. 

Up, " to be UP to a thing or two," to be knowing, or understanding; 
" to put a man UP to a move," to teach him a trick ; " it's all UP with 
him, i.e., it is all over with him ; when pronounced U.P., naming the 
two letters separately, means settled, or done UP. " UP a tree," see 
TREE. "UP to snuff," wide awake, acquainted with the last new 
move ; " UP to one's gossip," to be a match for one who is trying to 
take you in ; " UP to slum," proficient in roguery, capable of com- 
mitting a theft successfully; ''what's UP?" what is the matter ? wluU 
is the news ? 

U.P., United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. 


Upper Benjamin, or BENJY, a great coat ; originally "Joseph," but, 
because of the preponderance of tailors named BENJAMIN, altered in 
deference to them. 

Upper storey, or UPPER LOFT, a person's head ; "his UPPER STOREY is 
unfurnished," i.e., he does not know very much. " Wrong in his 

Uppish, proud, arrogant. 

Used up, broken-hearted, bankrupt, fatigued, vanquished. 

Vakeel, a barrister. Anglo-Indian* 

Vamos, VAMOUS, or VAMOOSH, to go, or be off. Spanish, VAMOS, "Let 
us go !" Probably NAMUS, or NAMOUS, the costermonger's word, was 
from this. 

Vamp, to spout, to leave in pawn. Also to cobble, as, "a VAMPED 
play," and "a VAMPED accompaniment," both terms reflecting dis- 
credit on the work, but not necessarily upon the musician. 

Vamps, old, or refooted stockings. From VAMP, to piece. 

Vardo, to look ; "VARDOthecarxey," look at the house. VARDO for- 
merly was old cant for a waggon. This is by low Cockneys generally 
pronounced VARDY. 

Vardy, verdict, vulgarly used as opinion, thus, " My VARDY on the 
matter is the same asyourn." 

Varmint. " You young VARMINT, you !" you bad, or naughty boy. Cor- 
ruption of VERMIN. 

Varnislier, an utterer of false sovereigns. Generally "snide-pitcher." 

'Varsity, either UNIVERSITY- more rarely University College, Oxford. 

Velvet, the tongue ; especially the tongue of a magsman. Also, men who 

have succeeded in their speculations, especially on the turf, are said to 

stand on VELVET. 
Veneor, the artificiality of society, conventionality. Dickens expressed 

his dislike for certain forms of VENEER repeatedly, and especially by 

means of his Veneerings in Our Mutual Friend, 
Vet, colloquial term for VETERINARIAN. 
Vic, the Victoria Theatre, London. Also the street abbreviation of the 

Christian name of her Majesty the Queen. 
Village, or THE VILLAGE, i.f., London. Birmingham is called "the 

hardware VILLAGE." Also a Cambridge term for a disreputable 

suburb of that town, viz., Barn well, generally styled " the VILLAGE," 

Ville, or VILE, a town or village pronounced PHIAL, or viAl^FretuA. 

Vinnied, mildewed, or sour. Devonshire. 

Voker, to talk ; can you VOKER Romany !" can you speak the canting 

language? Latin, VOCARE ; S/>anisA, VOCEAR. 
Vowel- " To VOWEL a debt" is to acknowledge with an I O U. 
Vlllpeoide, one who shoots or traps foxes, or destroys them in any way 

other than that of hunting. A foxhunter regards a VULPECiDE at 

rathe 1 " *rrse than an ordinary murderer. 


Wabble, or WOBBLE, to move from side to side, to roll about. Johnson 
terms it " a low, barbarous word." 

Walk into, to overcome, to demolish ; " I'll WALK INTO his affections," 
i.e., I will scold or thrash him. "He WALKED INTO the grub," i.e., 
he demolished it. WALK INTO also means to get into the debt of any 
one, as " He WALKED INTO the affections of all the tradesmen in the 
neighbourhood. " 

Walk-over, a re-election without opposition. Parliamentary, but de- 
rived from the turf, where a horse which has no rivals WALKS OVE. 
the course. See DEAD HEAT. 

Walk your chalks, be off, or nm away, spoken sharply by any one 
who wishes to get rid of a troublesome person. See CHALKS. 

Walker, a letter-carrier or postman. From an old song, called, " Walker, 
the twopenny postman. 

Walker ! or HOOKEY WALKER ! an ejaculation of incredulity, used when 
a person is telling a story which you know to be all gammon, or worse. 
One explanation of the phrase is this : " Years ago there was a person 
named Walker, an aquiline-nosed Jew, who exhibited an orrery, 
which he called by the erudite name of 'Eidouranion.' He was also 
a popular lecturer on astronomy, and often, telescope in hand, invited 
his pupils to ' take a sight' at the moon and stars. The lecturer's phrase 
struck his schoolboy auditory, who frequently ' took a sight' with that 
gesture of outstretched arm and adjustment to nose and eye which was 
the first garnish of the popular saying. The next step was to assume 
phrase and gesture as the outward and visible mode of knowingness in 
general " This has been denied, however, and a statement made that 
HOOKEY WAI KER was a magistrate of dreaded acuteness and incredu- 
lity, whose hooked nose gave the title of "beak" to all his successors ; 
it is also said, moreover, that the gesture of applying the thumb to the 
nose and agitating the little finger, as an expression of "Don't you 
wish you may get it f" is considerably older than the first story would 
seem to indicate. There are many and various explanations of the 
term, given according to the development of fancy. Notes and Queries, 
iv. 425. 

Walking the pegs, a method of cheating at the game of cribbage, by 
a species of legerdemain, the sharper either moving his own pegs 
forward, or those of his antagonist backward, according to the state 
of the game. 

Wallflower, a person who goes to a ball and looks on without dancing, 
either from choice or through not being able to obtain a partner. 
From the position. 
Wallflowers, left-off and "regenerated" clothes exposed for sale on 

the bunks and shop-boards of Seven Dials. See REACH-ME-DOWNS. 
Wallabee-track, Colonial slang for the tramp. When a man in Aus- 
tralia is "on the road" looking for employment, he is said to be OB 

Wallop, to beat, or thrash. John Gough Nichols derives this word from 
an ancestor of the Earl of Portsmouth, one Sir John Wallop, Knight 


of the Garter, who in King Henry VIII. 's time distinguished himself 
by WALLOPING the French ; but it is more probably connected with 
wheal, a livid swelling in the skin after a blow. See POT-WALLOPER. 

Walloping, a beating or thrashing ; sometimes used in an adjective 
sense, as big, or very large. 

"Wapping, or WHOPPING, of a large size, great. 

Warm, rich, or well off. 

Warm, to thrash or beat ; " I'll WARM your jacket." To WARM the wax 
of one's ear is to give a severe blow on the side of the head. To WARM 
is also to rate or abuse roundly. Also varied, as, "to make it hot" for 
any one. 

Warming-pan, a large old-fashioned gold watch. A person placed in 

an office to hold it for another. See w.p. 
War -paint, evening dress. When people go out in full costume they 

are often said to have their WAR-PAINT on. Also, military " full-fig." 

Wash, " It wont WASH," i.e., will not stand investigation, will not " bear 

the rub," is not genuine, can't be believed. 
Waster, a useless, clumsy, or ill-made person. 
Watch and seals, a sheep's head and pluck. 
Watchmaker, a pickpocket or stealer of watches. Often called "a 

WATCHMAKER in a crowd." 
Water-bewitched, very weak tea, the third brew (or the first at some 

houses). Sometimes very weak tea is called "husband's tea," in 

allusion to the wife taking the first brew, and leaving the rest for her 

husband. Also grog much diluted. 
Water-dOgS, Norfolk dumplings. 
Water gunner, a marine artilleryman. 
Water the dragon, or WATER ONE'S NAG, a hint for retiring. 
Waterman, a blue silk handkerchief. The friends of the Oxford and 

Cambridge boats' crews always wear these light blue for Cambridge, 

and a darker shade for Oxford. 
Wattles, ears. 

Wax, a rage. " Let's get him in a WAX.'' WAXY, cross, ill-tempered. 
Wayz-gOOSe, a printers' annual dinner, the funds for which are collected 

by stewards regularly appointed by " the chapel." 
Weathsr eye, the cautious eye. Any one who is supposed to have an 

extra good knowledge of things in general, or to be hard to impose 

on or cheat, is said to have his WEATHER EYE well open. 
Weather-headed, so written by Sir Walter Scott in his Peveril of the 

Peak, but it is more probably WETHER- HEADED, as applied to a person 

having a " sheepish" look. 
Weaving, a notorious card-sharping trick, done by keeping certain cards 

on the knee, or between the knee and the under side of the table, and 

using them when required by changing them for the cards held in the 

Weaving leather aprons. When a knowing blade is asked wha 


he has been doing lately, and does not choose to tell, his reply is, that 
he has been very busy WEAVING LEATHER APRONS. (From the 
reports of a celebrated trial for gold robbery on the South- Western 
Railway.) Other similar replies are, " I have been making a trundle 
for a goose's eye," or a " whim-wham to bridle a goose." Sometimes 
a man will describe himself as " a doll's-eye WEAVER." 
Wedge, silver. Old Cant. 

Wedge-feeder, a silver spoon. 

Weed, a cigar ; the WEED, tobacco generally. 

Weed, a hatband. 

Weight-for-age, a sporting phrase which, applied to a race, distin- 
guishes it from a handicap or catch-weight event, and informs all 
interested that the animals which ran carry according to their ages, and 
not their abilities. Winners of certain great races generally carry 
penalties in addition to WEIGHT-FOR-AGE, for the purpose of equalizing 
matters somewhat ; but as a rale the results are fairly foreshadowed 
as soon as in these races the horses are at the post, or as soon as the 
starters are positively known. 

Wejee, a chimney-pot. Often applied to any clever invention, as, " That's 
a regular WEJEE." 

Welcher, a person who makes a bet without the remotest chance of 
being able to pay, and, losing it, absconds, or " makes himself scarce." 
In the betting ring a WELCHER is often very severely handled upon his 
swindling practices being discovered. The Catterick " Clerk of the 
Course" once provided some stout labourers and a tar-barrel for the 
special benefit of the WELCHERS who might visit that neighbourhood. 
The word is modern, but the practice is ancient. 

"One Moore, the unworthy incumbent of the ' Suffolk curacy,' dedicated a book 
to ' Duke Humphrey,' and was then entirely lost sight of by his old college 
friends, till one of them espied him slung up in ' the basket,' for not paying his 
bets at a cock-pit." Post and Paddock. 

One writer says the term " arose from a fellow who took deposits on 
account of Welsh ponies, which he said he was importing, and never 
delivered them." It is not unfrequently suggested by irreverent persons 
that the word was suggested by the dislike his gracious Majesty George 
the Fourth had, when a young man, for settling. Others derive it from 
the nursery rhyme, 

"Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief." 

There can be no doubt that, from the days when the stout Earl of 
Chester and others were constantly employed in checking and cutting 
off the expeditions of their neighbours till comparatively recently, the 
term " Welshman" has been hardly one of kindness. It is not hard, 
therefore, to imagine its use on the Roodee, and its subsequent corrup- 
tion into WELCHER. The spelling of the word, WELCHER or WELSHES 
is optional. 

Well, to pocket, to save money. Any one of fair income and miserly 
habits is said to " WELL it." 

Welt, to thrash with a strap or stick. Probably meaning to raise wheal* 


West central, a water-closet, the initials being the same as those of the 
London Postal District. It is said that for this reason very delicate 
people refuse to obey Rowland Hill's instructions in this particular. 
An old maid, who lived in this district, was particularly shocked at 
Vaving w.c. marked on all her letters, and informed the letter-carrier 
that she could not think of submitting to such an indecent fashion. 
On being informed that the letters would not be forwarded without 
the obnoxious initials, she remarked that she would have them left at 
the Post-Office. " Then, marm," said the fellow, with a grin, " they 
will put P.O. on them, which will be more ondacenter than the 

Wet . a drink, a drain. 

Wet, to drink. Low people generally ask an acquaintance to WET any 
recently purchased article, i.e., to stand treat on the occasion. " WET 
(originally WHET, to sharpen,) your whistle," i.e., take a drink ; " WET 
the other eye," i.e., take another glass. See SHED A TEAR. 

Wet Quaker, a man who pretends to be religious, and is a dram- 
drinker on the sly. 

Wet un, a diseased cow, unfit for human food, but nevertheless sold to 
make into sausages. Co/nfare STAGGERING-BOB. 

Whack, a share or lot. " Give me my WHACK," give me my share. 
Scotch, SWEG, or SWACK. 

Whack, or WHACKING, a blow, or a thrashing. 

Whack, to beat. 

Whacker, a lie of unusual dimensions, sometimes called a "round un." 

Whacking, large, fine, or strong. 

Whacks, to go WHACKS, to divide equally ; to enter into partnership. 

Whale, " very like a WHALE," said of anything that is very improbable. 
A speech of Polonius's in Hamlet. 

What d'ye call 'em, a similar expression to "thingumy." 

Wheeze, a joke, an anecdote, or dialogue, not strictly connected with a 
piece that is being played, but introduced by an actor, sometimes with 
the assistance and for the benefit of others. The dialogues which 
take place between the songs at nigger entertainments are also known 
as WHEEZES. The word actually means a new notion as applied to 
Wherret, WORRIT, ro to scold, trouble, or annoy. Old English. 

Whid, a word. Sometimes, a fib, a falsehood, a word too much. 

Modern Slang, from the ancient cant. 
Wniddle, to enter into a parley, or hesitate with many words, &c. ; to 

inform, or discover. See WHEEDLE. 

Whim-Wham, an alliterative term, synonymous with fiddle-faddle, riff- 
raff, &c., denoting nonsense, rubbish, &c. 

lip after the usual allowance of wine is drunk at mess, those who wiJi 
for more put a shilling each into a glass handed round to procure a 


further supply. WHIP-ROUND is now a common term for a subscrip- 
tion of a similar kind to that described. 

Whip, to "WHIP anything up," to take it up quickly ; from the method 
of hoisting heavy goods or horses on board ship by a WHIP, or running 
tackle, from the yard-arm. Generally used to express anything dis- 
honestly taken. 

Whip, the member of the House of Commons whose duty it is to collect 
and keep together his party to vote at divisions. To give him greater 
influence, the ministerial WHIP holds, or is supposed to hold, the minor 
patronage of the Treasury. 

Whipjack, a sham shipwrecked sailor, called also a turnpike-sailor. 

Whip the oat, when an operative works at a private house by the day. 
Term used amongst tailors and carpenters. 

Whipper-snapper, a waspish, diminutive person. 

Whisper, a tip given in secret, a rumour which is spread under the pre- 
tence of its being a secret. To " give the WHISPER," is to give a quick 
tip to any one. An owner's final instruction to his jockey is called 
" the WHISPER at the post." 

Whisper, to borrow money generally small sums as, "He WHISPERED 
me fora tanner." 

Whisperer, a constant borrower. 

Whistle, "as clean as a WHISTLE," neatly, or "slickly done," as an 
American would say ; "To whet (or more vulgarly wet) one's 
WHISTLE," to take a drink. This last is a very old expression. Chaucer 
says of the Miller of Trumpington's wife {Canterbury Tales, 4153) 

" So was hir joly WHISTAL well y-wet." 

"To WHISTLE for anything," to stand small chance of getting it, from 
the nautical custom of WHISTLING for a wind in a calm, which of course 
comes none the sooner for it. "To pay for one's WHISTLE," to pay 
extravagantly for any fancy. 

Whistling-Billy, or PUFFING-BILLY, a locomotive engine. 

Whistling -shop, a place in which spirits are sold without a licence. 

Whitechapel or WESTMINSTER BROUGHAM, a costermonger's donkey- 

Whitechapel, anything mean or paltry. Potting one's opponent at 
billiards is often known as " WHITECHAPEL play/' 

Whitechapel, in tossing, when " two out of three wins." See SUDDKN 

Whitechapel fortune, a clean gown and a pair of pattens. 

White eye, military slang for a very strong and deleterious kind of 
whisky, so called because its potency is believed to turn the eyes 
round in the sockets, leaving the whites only visible. 

White feather, " to show the WHITE FEATHER," to evince cowardice. 
In times when great attention was paid to the breeding of game-cocki, 
a white feather in the tail was considered a proof of cross-breeding. 


White horses, the foam on the crests of waves, seen before or after a 

" Now the wild white horses play, 
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray. 
Children, dear, let us away, 
This way, this via.y"Maitlieii> Arnold. 

White lie, a harmless lie, one told to reconcile people at variance. 

" Mistress is not at home, sir," is a WHITE LIE often told by servants. 
White-livered, or LIVER-FACED, cowardly, much afraid, very mean. 
White prop, a diamond pin. East London. 
White satin, gin, term amongst women. See SATIN. 
Wh&e Serjeant, a man's superior officer in the person of his better half. 
White tape, gin, term used principally by female servants. See 


White un, a silver watch. 

White wine, the fashionable term for gin. 

"Jack Randall then impatient rose, 

And said, ' Tom's speech were just as fine 
If he would call that first of GOES 
By that genteeler name WHITE WINE." 

RatidalCs Diary* iSao. 

Whitewash, to rehabilitate. A person who took the benefit of the Insol- 
vent Act was said to have been WHITEWASHED. Now said of a 
person who compromises with his creditors. 

Whitewash, a glass of sherry as a finale, after drinking port and claret. 

Whittle, to nose or peach. Old Cant. To cut and hack as with a 
pocket-knife. American. 

Whop, to beat, or hide. Corruption of WHIP ; sometimes spelt WAP. 

Whop-straw, cant name for a countryman ; Johnny WHOP-STRAW, in 
allusion to threshing. 

Whopper, a big one, a lie. A lie not easily swallowed. 

Widdle, to shine. See OLIVER. 

Wide-awake, * broad-brimmed felt or stuff hat, so called because it 
never had a nap, and never wants one. 

Wido, wide awake, no fool. 

Wife, a fetter fixed to one leg. Prison. 

Wiffle-woffles, in the dumps, sorrow, stomach-ache. 

Wig, move off, go away. North Country Cant. 

WiggiD g, a rebuke before comrades. If the head of a firm calls a clerk 
into the parlour, and rebukes him, it is an EARWIGGING ; if done 
before the other clerks, it is a WIGGING. 

Wild, a village. Tramps' term. See VI LE. 

Wild, vexed, cross, passionate, said to be from WILLED (SELJ-WILLED), 
in opposition to "tamed" or "subdued." In the United States tbo 
word " mad " is supplemented with a vulgar meaning similar to GUI 
Cockneyism WILD ; and to make a man mad on the other side A lie 


Atlantic is to vex him, or "rile" his temper not to render him a 
raving maniac, or a fit subject for Bedlam. 

Wild Irishman, the train between Euston and Holyhead, in connec- 
tion with the Kingstown mail-boats. 
Vild oats, youthful pranks. A fast young man is said to be "sowing 

his WILD OATS." 

William, a bill. The derivation is obvious. 

Willow, a cricket-bat. From the material of which it is made. The great 
batsman, W. G. Grace, is often called "champion of the WILLOW." 

Wind, "to raise the WIND," to procure money ; " to slip one's WIND," 
a coarse expression, meaning to die. See RAISE. 

Wind, " I'll WIND your cotton," i.e., I will give you some trouble. The 
Byzantine General, Narses, used the same kind of threat to the Greek 
Empress, " I will spin a thread that they shall not be able to unravel." 

Windows, the eyes, or "peepers." 

Winey, intoxicated. 

Winged, hurt, but not dangerously, by a bullet. Originally to be shot in 
the arm or shoulder. To slightly wound birds is to \v ING them. 

Winkin, " he went off like W1NKIN," i.e., very quickly, i'rom WINK, 
to shut the eye quickly. 

Winks, periwinkles. 

Winn, a penny. Ancient Cant. See introductory chapter. 

Wipe, a pocket-handkerchief. Old Cant. 

Wipe, a blow. Frequently sibilated to SWIPE, a cricket-term. 

Wipe, to strike ; "he fetcht me a WIPE over the knuckles," he struck me 
on the knuckles ; " to WIPE a person down," to flatter or pacify ; " to 
WIPE off a score," to pay one's debts, in allusion to the slate or chalk 
methods of account-keeping; "to WIPE a person's eye," to shoot 
game which he has missed ; hence to obtain an advantage by superior 
activity. With old topers " WIPING one's eye," is equivalent to giving 
or taking another drink. 

Wipe-OUt, to kill or utterly destroy. This is an Americanism, but is 
in pretty general use here. 

Wire-in, a London street phrase in general use, which means to go in 
with a will. In its original form of "WIRE-IN, and get your name 
np," it was very popular among London professional athletes. The 
phrase is now general, and any one who has a hard task before him, 
knows he must WIRE-IN to bring matters to a successful issue. 

Wire-pullers, powerful political partisans, who do their work from 
" behind the scenes." 

With and Without, words by themselves, supposed to denote the ex- 
istence or non-existence of sugar in grog. Generally "warm WITH'' 
and " cold WITHOU r." 

Wobble-shop, a shop where beer is sold without a licence. 

Wobbler, a foot soldier, a term of contempt used by cavalrymen, 

Wobbly, rickety, unsteady, ill-fitting. 


Wolf, to eat greedily. 

Wooden Spoon, the last junior optime who takes a University degree j 
denoting one who is only fit to stay at home, and stir porridge. 
Cambridge. The expression is also parliamentary slang, and is applied 
to the member of the ministry whose name appears in the division 
lists least frequently. At the ministerial dinner annually held at Green- 
wich, such member sometimes has a wooden spoon presented tnhim. 

Wooden surtout, a coffin, generally spoken of as a WOODEN SURTOUT 
with nails for buttons. 

Wooden wedge, the last name in the clas- 
sical honours' list at Cambridge. The last 
in mathematical honours had long been 
known as the WOODEN SPOON ; but when 
the classical Tripos was instituted in 1824, 
it was debated among the undergraduates 
what sobriquet should be given to the last 
on the examination list. Curiously enough, 
the name that year which happened to be 
last was WEDGEWOOD (a distinguished Wrangler). Hence the title. 

Wool, courage, pluck ; " you are not half- woo LED," term of reproach 
from one thief to another. 

Wool, bravery, pluck. Term much in use among pugilists and their ad- 
mirers. The highest praise that can be bestowed on a man of courage 
in lower-class circles is that which characterizes him as being " a reg'lar 
WOOLED UN," or "a rare WOOL-TOPPED UN." Derived from the 
great pluck and perseverance shown by many pugilists of whole or 
partial colour, from Molyneux down to Bob Travers. 

Woolbird, a lamb ; "wing of a WOOLBIRD," a shoulder of lamb. 
Wool-gathering, said of any person's wits when they are wandering, 

or in a reverie. 

Wool-hole, the workhouse. 
Woolly, out of temper. 
Woolly, a blanket. 

Work, to plan, or lay down and execute any course of action, to perform 
anything ; " to WORK the bulls," i.e., to get rid of false crown pieces ; 
"to WORK the oracle," to succeed by manoeuvring, to concert a wily 
plan, to victimize, a possible reference to the stratagems and bribes 
used to corrupt the Delphic oracle, and cause it to deliver a favourable 
response. "To WORK a street or neighbourhood," to try at each 
house to sell all one can, or to bawl so that every housewife may know 
what is to be sold. The general plan is to drive a donkey-barrow 
a short distance, and then stop and cry. The term implies thorough- 
ness ; to "WORK a street well" is a common saying with a coster. 
" To WORK a benefit" is to canvass among one's friends and acquaitt- 

Worm. See PUMP. 

Worm, a policeman. 


Worming, removing the beard of an oyster or mussel. 

W. P., or WARMING-PAN. A clergyman who holds a living pro tempore, 
under a bond of resignation, is styled a w. P., or WARMING-PAN rector,, 
because he keeps the place warm for his successor. WARMING-PAN 
was a term first popularly applied to a substitute in the reign of 
James II. 

Wrinkle, an idea, or a fancy ; an additional piece of knowledge. 

Write, as "to WRITE one's name on a joint," to leave the impression of 
one's handiwork thereon, to have the first cut at anything ; to leave 
visible traces of one's presence anywhere. 

Wylo, be off. Anglo-Chinese. 

X., or LETTER x, a method of arrest used by policemen with desperate 
ruffians, by getting a firm grasp on the collar, and drawing the cap- 
tive's hand over the holding arm, and pressing the fingers down in a 
peculiar way the captured person's arm in this way can be more 
easily broken than extricated. 

lTack, a watch ; to "church a YACK," to take it out of its case to avoid 
detection, otherwise to " christen a YACK." 

Yaffle, to eat. Old English. 

YahOO, a person of coarse or degraded habits. Derived from the use of 
the word by Swift. 

Yam, to eat. This word is used by the lowest class all over the world ; 
by the Wapping sailor, West Indian negro, or Chinese coolie. Wher 
the fort, called the Dutch Folly, near Canton, was in course of erection 
by the Hollanders, under the pretence of being intended for an 
hospital, the Chinese observed a box containing muskets among the 
alleged hospital stores. " Hy-aw !" exclaimed John Chinaman, "How 
can sick man YAM gun ?" The Dutch were surprised and massacred 
the same night. 

Yappy, soft, foolish; mostly applied to an over-generous person, from the 
fact that it originally meant one who paid for everything. YAP is 
back slang for pay, and often when a man is asked to pay more than he 
considers correct, he says, " Do you think I'm YAPPY ? do you think 
I'm paying mad ? Thus slang begets slang. 

Yard of Clay, a long, old-fashioned tobacco pipe ; also called a 


Yarmouth capon, a bloater, or red herring. 
Yarmouth mittens, bruised hands. Sea. 
Yarn, a long story, or tale ; " a tough YARN," a tale hard to be believed ; 

"spin a YARN," to tell a tale. Sea. 
Yay-nay, "a poor YAY-NAY" fellow, one who has no conversational 

power, and can only answer YEA or NAY to a question. 
Yellow-belly, a native of the fens of Lincolnshire, or the Isle of Elf 

in allusion to the frogs and yellow-bellied eels caught there. 
Yellow-boy, a sovereign, or any gold coin. 

Yellow-gloak, a jealous man. 

A A 


Yellow- Jack, the yellow fever prevalent in the West Indies. 

Yellow-man, a yellow silk handkerchief. 

Yellows, a term of reproach applied to Bluecoat and other charity school 

Yid, or YIT, a Jew. YIDDEN, the Jewish people. The Jews use these 
terms very frequently. 

Yokel, a countryman. Probably from yoke, representative of his occu- 
pation. Some fancy, however, that the word was originally YOWKEL, 
in imitation of the broad tones of country labourers. 

Yokuff, a chest, or large box. 

Yorkshire, " to YORKSHIRE," or " come YORKSHIRE over any person," 
to cheat or cozen him. The proverbial over-reaching of the rustic* 
of this coanty has given rise to the phrase, which is sometimes pro- 
nounced Yorshar. To put Yorshar to a man, is to trick or deceive 
him. This latter is from a work in the Lancashire dialect, 1757. 

Yorkshire compliment, a gift of something useless to the giver. 
Sometimes called a North-country compliment. 

Yorkshire estates; " I will do it when I come into my YORKSHIRE 
ESTATES," meaning if I ever have the money or the means. 

Yorkshire reckoning, a reckoning in which every one pays his own 

Younker, in street language, a lad or a boy. Term in general use 
amongst costermongers, cabmen, and old-fashioned people. Barne- 
field's Affectionate Shepherd, 1594, has the phrase, "a seemelie 
YOUNKER." Danish and Friesic, JONKER. In the navy, a naval 
cadet is usually termed a YOUNKER. 

Your nibs, yourself. See NIBS. 

Yoxter, a convict returned from transportation before his time. 

Ziff, a juvenile thief. 

Ziph, LANGUAGE OF, a way of disguising English in use among the students 
at Winchester College. Compare MEDICAL GREEK. De Quincey, in 
his Autobiographic Sketches, says that he acquired this language as a 
boy, from a Dr. Mapleton, who had three sons at Winchester who 
had imported it from thence as their sole accomplishment, and that 
after the lapse of fifty years he could, and did with Lord Westport, con- 
verse in it with ease and rapidity. It was communicated at Winchester 
to new-comers for a fixed fee of half a guinea. The secret is this, 
repeat the vowel or diphthong of every syllable, prefixing to the vowel 
so repeated the letter G, and placing the accent on the intercalated 
syllable. Thus, for example, " Shall we go away in an hour?" 
" Shagall wege gogo agawagay igin hougour?" "Three hours we 
have already stayed, ' ' Threegee hougours wege hagave agalreageadygy 
stagayed." De Quincey could hardly have been considered complimen- 
tary to his own memory if he supposed that he, or for the matter of that 
any one possessed of brains, could forget anything so simple ; or that, 
if forgotten until suddenly recalled, it could not be mastered by any 
sensible person in a minute. The language of ZIPH is far inferior to 


any of the slangs manufactured by the lower classes. Evidently any 
consonant will answer the purpose ; F or L would be softer, and so far 
better. This zrrH system is not confined to Winchester College, as it 
is recorded and descril>ed amongst many other modes of cryptical com 
munication, oral and visual, spoken, written, and symbolic, in an Essay 
towards a Real Character and a Philosophic Language (founded on or 
suggested by a treatise published just before, by Geo. Dalgarne), by 
John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, published by order of the Royal 
Society, fol. 1668, and as the bishop does not speak of it as a recent 
invention, it may probably at that time have been regarded as an 
antique device for conducting a conversation in secrecy amongst 
bystanders which says very little for either the designers or the 
Zounds ! a sudden exclamation abbreviation of " God's wounds I" 



costermongers of London number between thirty 
J_ and forty thousand. Like other low tribes, they boast a 
language, or secret tongue, by which they hide their designs, 
movements, and other private affairs. This costers' speech 
offers no new fact, or approach to a fact, for philologists ; it is 
not very remarkable for originality of construction, neither is it 
spiced with low humour, as other cant. But the costermongers 
boast that it is known only to themselves ; that it is far beyond 
the Irish, and puzzles the Jews. This is, however, but a poor 
fiction ; for, as will be seen, the slang current among them is 
of the crudest conception, and only difficult to the most igno- 
rant. Any one of the smallest pretensions to ability could 
learn back slang could, in fact, create it for himself as far as 
the costers' vocabulary extends, in a couple of hours. Since 
the early editions of this work were published back slang hai 
become very common ; and is now mostly spoken, mixed how- 
ever, with various other kinds of slang, in the public markets 
the new dead-meat market being, perhaps, strongest in the way 
of pure if the term may be used back slang. 

The main principle of this language is spelling the words back- 
wards or rather, pronouncing them rudely backwards. Some- 
times, for the sake of harmony, an extra syllable is prefixed or 
annexed ; and occasionally the word receives quite a different 
turn, in rendering it backwards, from what an uninitiated person 
would have expected. One coster told Mayhew that he often 


gave the end of a word " a new turn, just as if he chorused it 
with a tol-de-rol." But then costermongers, and more especially 
those who confided their joys and sorrows to the gentleman just 
named, are not to he relied on. The coster has, of course, his 
own idea of the proper way of spelling words, and is not to be 
convinced but by an overwhelming show of learning, and 
frequently not then, for he is a very headstrong fellow. By the 
time a coster has spelt an ordinary word of two or three 
syllables in the proper way, and then spelt it backwards, it has 
become a tangled knot that no etymologist could unravel. The 
word "generalize," for instance, is considered to be "shilling" 
spelt backwards, while "genitraf" is supposed to represent far- 
thing. Sometimes slang and cant words are introduced, and 
even these, when imagined to be tolerably well known, are pro- 
nounced backwards. Very often, instead of a word being spelt 
backwards right through, the syllables retain their original 
order; the initial h is pronounced as though c were before 
it, " tatch" being back slang for hat, and " flatch" the word 
supposed to represent half. Again, the full words are shortened, 
as " gen" for " generalize," a shilling ; and various other 
artifices are resorted to, in the hope of adding to the natural 
difficulties of back slang. 

This back language, back slang, or " kacab genals," as it 
is called by the costermongers themselves, is supposed to be 
regarded by the rising generation of street-sellers as a distinct 
and regular mode of intercommunication. People who hear this 
slang for the first time never refer words, by inverting them, to 
their originals ; and the " yanneps," " esclops," and " nam- 
mows," are looked upon as secret terms. Those who practise 
the slang soon obtain a considerable stock vocabulary, so that 
they converse rather from the memory than the understanding. 
Amongst the senior costermongers, and those who pride them- 
selves on their proficiency in back slang, a conversation is 


often sustained for a whole evening that is, the chief words 
are in the back slang especially if any " flats" are present 
whom they wish to astonish or confuse. 

The addition of an s invariably forms the plural, so that this 
^ another source of complication. For instance, woman in the 
back slang is " nammow," and " nammows" is " women." 
The explorer, then, in undoing the back slang, and turning 
the word once more into English, would have a novel and very 
extraordinary rendering of women. Where a word is refractory 
in submitting to a back rendering, as in the case of " pound," 
letters are made to change positions for the sake of harmony ; 
thus we have " dunop," a pound, instead of " dnuop," which 
nobody could pleasantly pronounce. Also all words of one 
syllable which end with two vowels such, for instance, as cold, 
drunk become dissyllables when read backwards, the vowel 
t being imagined between the then first and second consonants, 
as " deloc," " kennurd." Others take the vowel as an initial, 
girl being pronounced " elrig." This arrangement, as a modi- 
fication to suit circumstances, may remind the reader of the 
Jews' " Old clo' ! old clo' 1" instead of " Old clothes ! old 
clothes !" which it is supposed would tire the patience of even 
a Jew to repeat all day. 

The back slang has been in vogue for many years. It is, 
as before stated, very easily acquired, and is principally used by 
the costermongers and others who practise it (as the specimen 
Glossary will show) for communicating the secrets of their 
street tradings, the cost of and profit on goods, and for keeping 
their natural enemies, the police, in the dark. " Cool the 
esclop" (look at the police) is often said among them, when 
one of the constabulary makes his appearance. It is only fair 
to assume, however, that the police know as much or more 
about the back slang than do the costers ; and eve /y child in 
a " shy" neighbourhood knows the meaning of the phrase just 


quoted. Those who regard the London costermonger as a 
fearful being are very much mistaken, he is singularly simple- 
minded and innocent, and has, indeed, very little to conceal ; 
but he certainly does like to wrap himself up as in a garment of 
mystery, and sometimes believes that the few words of slang he 
knows, mixed as they are, and troublesome as they have been 
to him, form an impenetrable barrier between him and the rest 
of the world. He is fond of exhibiting what knowledge he 
possesses, and so talks slang in public much more than in 
private ; but at most the slang words used bear not forty per 
cent, proportion to the rest of his conversational structure, 
even when he exerts himself to the uttermost limits of his 
ability and education, and even when he is a leader in his walk 
of life. 

Perhaps on no subject is the costermonger so silent as on 
his money affairs. All costs and profits, he thinks, should be 
kept profoundly secret. The back slang, therefore, gives the 
various small amounts very minutely, but, as has been before 
remarked, these words are known wherever common folk most 
do congregate, and are peculiar only for their variations from 
the original in the way of pronunciation : 

Hatch, halfpenny. 
Yannep, penny. 
Owt-yanneps, twopence. 
Erth-yanneps, threepence. 
Roaf-yanneps, fourpence. 
Evif, or ewif-yanneps, fivepence. 
Exis-yanneps, sixpence. 
Nevis-yanneps, sevenpence. 
Teaich, or theg-yanneps, eightpence, 
Enin-yanneps, ninepence. 
Net-yanneps, tenpence. 
Nevele-yanneps, elevenpence. 
Evlenet-yanneps, twelvepence. 
Generalize, one shilling. 
Yannep -Hatch, three-halfpence. 


Owt-yannep-flatch, twopence-halfpenny. The word " flatch" repre 
sents the odd halfpenny when added to any number of "yanneps." 
Gen, or eno-gen, one shilling. "Gen" is a contraction of "generalize." 
Owt-gens, two shillings. 
Erth-gous, three shillings. 

The "gens" continue in the same sequence as the "yanneps" 
above ; but, as a rule, the s is left out, and " owt" or " erth 
gen" represents the quantity. This is, however, matter oi 
individual taste ; and any reader who is anxious to become pro- 
ficient need not be afraid of committing a solecism that's a 
good word for back slanging by giving vent to any pecu- 
liarity that may strike him. Variety is the charm of nature, 
we are told ; and in this particular, if in no other, back slang 
and nature approach each other. So do extremes meet. 

Yenork, a crown piece, or five shillings. 

Flatch-yenork, half-a-crown. This is generally slurred into " flatch- 
a-nock." The crown in full rarely receives the title "yenork" 
nowadays, it is usually a " wheel" or "evif gen." 

Flatch a dunop, ten shillings, i.e., half a pound. 

Beyond this amount the slangist reckons after an intricate 
and complicated mode. Fifteen shillings would be " erth-evif- 
gen," or, literally, three times 5^. ; seventeen and sixpence 
would be " erth-yenork-flatch," or three crowns and a half; or, 
by another mode of reckoning, " erth-evif-gen flatch-yenork," 
i.e., three times 5^., and half-a-crown. 

Dunop, a pound. Varied by " Dick," back slang for " quid." 
Further than which the costermonger seldom goes in money 

In the following Glossary only those words are given which 
are continually used, the terms connected with street traffic, 
the names of the different coins, vegetables, fruit, and fish, 
technicalities of police courts, &c. The reader might naturally 
think that a system of speech so simple as the back slang 
would require no Glossary ; but he will quickly perceive, from 


the specimens given, that a great many words in frequent use 
in a " back" sense, have become so twisted as to require a 
little glossarial explanation. 

This kind of slang, formed by reversing and transposing the 
letters of a word, is not peculiar to the London costermongers. 
Instances of an exactly similar secret dialect are found in the 
Spanish " Germania" and French " Argot." Thus : 

Spanish. Germania. English. 



French. Argot. English. 



of that name. 

The Bazeegars, a wandering tribe of jugglers in India, form a 
back slang, on the basis of the Hindustanee, in the following 
manner : 

Hindustanee. Bazeegar. English. 





Birk, a "crib," a house. 

Cool, to look. 

Cool him, look at him. A phrase frequently used when one coster, 
monger warns another of the approach of a policeman, or when any 
person worthy of notice passes by. When any old lady has been 
bargaining with a costermonger, and leaves his barrow without 
purchasing, the proprietor of the barrow will call out to the rest, " COOL 
the delo nammow," which, though it means literally nothing beyond 
"Look at the old woman," conveys to them an intimation that she is, 
from their point of view, a nuisance, and should be treated as such. 

Dab, bad. 

Dab tros, a bad sort 

Dabhcno, a bad one, sometimes a bad market. S* DOOGHBNO. 

Da-erb, bread. 

Deb, or DAB, a bed ; " I'm off to the DEB," I'm going to bed. 

Delo nammow, an old woman. 

Delog, gold. 

Doog, good. 

Doogheno, literally " good-one," but implying generally a good market, 
a good man, &c. 

Doogheno hit, one good hit. A coster remarks to a mate, "Jack 
made a DOOGHENO HIT this morning," implying that he did well at 
market, or sold out with good profit. Actually a good hit only is in- 
tended, but redundancy has its charms in the back slang as well at in 
more pretentious literary efforts. 

Dunop, a pound. 

Edgabac, cabbage. 

Edgenaro, an orange. 

E-flnk, a knife. 

Ekame, a "make," or swindle. 

Ekom, a "moke," or donkey. 

Elrig, a girl. 

Emag, game, " I know your little KMAO." 

Enif, fine. 

Enin gen, nine shillings. 

Enin yanneps, ninepencc. 

Eno v one- 


Erif , fire. 

Erth, three. 

Erth gen, three shillings. 

Erth-pu, three-up, a street game, played with three halfpence. 

Erth sitk-noms, three months, a term of imprisonment unfortunately 
very familiar to the lower orders. Generally known as a "drag." 

Erth yanneps, threepence. 

Esclop, police, now used to signify a constable oly. ESCLOP is pro- 
nounced " slop " simply, but the c was never sounded. A policeman is 
now and then called, by some purist or stickler for etiquette, an 
" esclopnam." 

Es-roch, a horse, 

Esuch, a house. 

Evif-gon, a crown, or five shillings. 

Evif-yanneps, fivepence. 

Evlenet-gen, twelve shillings. 

Evlenet sith-noms, twelve months. Generally known as a "stretch." 

Exis- evif- gen, six times five shillings, t^., 30;. All moneys may be 
reckoned in this manner, either with YANNEPS or GENS. It is, how- 
ever, rarely or never done. 

Exis-evif-yanneps, elevenpence, literally, "sixpence and fivepence 
= elevenpence." This mode of reckoning, distinct from the preced- 
ing, is only made by special arrangement amongst slangites, who wish 
to confound their intimates. 

Exis gen, six shillings. 

Exis sith-noms, six months, 

Exis yannepsxpence. 

Fi-heath, a thief. 

Match, half, or a halfpenny. 

Match kenntir d, half drunk. 

Mateh-yenork, half-a-crown. See preceding remarks. 

Matchyannep, a halfpenny. 

Gen, twelvepence, or one shilling. Formerly imagined to be an abbrevia 
tion of argent, cant term for silver. 

Generalize, a shilling, almost invariably shortened to GEN. 

Genitraf, a farthing. 

Gen-net, or NET GEN, ten shillings. 

Genol, long. 

Hel-bat, a table. ) The ^^^ i s ma tter of taste. 

Helpa, an apple ) 

Kanitseeno, a stinking one. KANITS is a stink. 

Kennurd, drank. 

Kew (or more properly KEEU), a week. 



Kirb, a brick. 

Kool, to look. 

Lawt, tall. 

Lor-ac-am, mackereL 

Mottob, bottom. 

Mur, rum. A " net lock o' MU* " Is quartern of rum. 

Nair, rain. 

Nam, a man. 

Nam esclop, a policeman. See KSCLOP. 

Nammo w, a woman ; DELO NAMMOW, an old woman. 

Noel, lean. 

Neergs, greens. 

Net enin gen, nineteen shillings. 

Net evif gen, fifteen shillings. 

Net exis gen, sixteen shillings. 

Net gen, ten shillings, or half a sovereign. 

Net nevis gen, seventeen shillings. 

Net rith gen, thirteen shillings. 

Net roaf gen, fourteen shillings. It will be seen by the foregoing 
that the reckoning is more by tens than by " teens." This is, however, 
matter of choice, and any one wishing to be considered accomplished 
in this description of slang, must do as he thinks best must lead and 
not be led. 

Net theg gen, eighteen shillings. 

Net yanneps, tenpence. 

Nevele gen, eleven shillings. 

Nevele yanneps, elevenpence. 

Nevis gen, seven shillings. 

Nevis Stretch, seven years' penal servitude. 

Nevis yanneps, sevenpence. 

Nig, gin. 

Noom, the moon. 

Nos-rap, a parson 

Occabot, tobacco ; " tib fo OCCABOT," bit of tobacco. 

Ogging ot tekram, going to market 

On, no. 

On doog, no good. 

Owt gen, two shillings. ) 0wT j, pronounced Q^ 
Owt yanneps, twopence, i 
Pac, a cap. 

Pinnurt pots, turnip top*. 
Pot, top. 
Rape, a pear 


Eeeb, beer. "Top o' REEB," a pot of beer. 

Rev-lis, silver. 

Rof-efil, for life sentence of punishment; 

Roaf-gen, four shillings. 

Roaf-yanneps, fourpence. 

Rutat, or RATTAT. \ "tatur," or potata 

See-otches, shoes. 

Sey, yes. Pronounced SEE. 

Shif, fish. 

Sirretch, cherries. Very often SIRRETCHES. 

Sith-nom, a month. This is because the slang was made from months, 
not month. Perhaps because the latter was not easy ; perhaps because 
terms of imprisonment run longer than a month, and are often enume- 
rated in the "kacab genals." However it maybe, "months" in this 
mode of speaking has a double plural as it stands now. 

Slaoc, coals. 

Slop, a policeman. See ESCLOP. 

Sueerg, greens. 

Spinsrap, parsnips. \ 

Sret-Sio, oysters. 

Sres-wort, trousers. 

Starps, sprits. All these will take the /, is now initial, 

Stoobs boot*- after them ' if desired ' and ' ** ma y be seen> some 

Storrac, carrots. 

take it doubly. 

Stun, nuts. 

Stunlaw, walnuts. 

Tach, a hat. 

Taf, fat. A TAP ENO is a fat man or woman, literally A FAT ONE. 

Taoc, a coat. " Cool the DELO TAOC" means, " Look at the old coat," 
but is really intended to apply to the wearer as well, as professors of 
mixed slangs might say, " Vardy his nibs in the snide bucket. 

Taoc-tisaw, a waistcoat. 

Teaich-gir, right, otherwise TADGER. 

Tenip, a pint 

Theg (or TEAICH) gen, eight shillings. 

Theg (or TEAITCH) yanneps, eightpence. 

Tib, a bit, or piece. 

Tol, lot, stock, or share. 

Top-yob, a potboy. 

Torrac, a carrot. " Ekat a TORRAC." 

Trork, a quart. 

Trosseno, literally, "one sort," but professional slangists me it to inn 
anything that is bad. TROSS, among costermongers, means anything 


bad. It is probably a corruption of trash. Possibly, however, the 
constant use of the words "dab- tros" may have led them in their un- 
thinking way to imagine that the latter word will do by itself. 

Wedge, a Jew. This may look strange, but it is exact back slang; 

Wor-rab, a barrow. 

Yad, a day ; YADS, days. 

Yadnarb, brandy. 

Yannep, a penny. 

Yannep a time, a penny each. Costermongers say " a time" for many 
things. They say a " bob a time," meaning a shilling each for admis- 
sion to a theatre, or any other place, or that certain articles are charged 
a shilling each. The context is the only clue to the exact meaning. 

Yannep-flatch, three halfpence, all the halfpence and pennies continue 
in the same sequence, as for instance, OWT-YANNEP-FLATCH, twopence- 

Yap pu, pay up. 

Yeknod, or JERK-NOD, a donkey. 

Yenork, a crown. 

Yob, a boy. 

Zeb, best. 

From these examples the apt student may fairly judge how to form Ml 
own back slang to his own liking and that of his friends. 



THERE exists in London a singular tribe of men, known 
amongst the "fraternity of vagabonds" as chaunters and 
patterers. Both classes are great talkers. The first sing or 
chaunt through the public thoroughfares ballads political and 
humorous carols, dying speeches, and the various other kinds 
ef gallows and street literature. The second deliver street 
orations on grease-removing compounds, plating powders, high- 
polishing blacking, and the thousand-and-one wonderful penny- 
worths that are retailed to gaping mobs from a London kerb- 

They are quite a distinct tribe from the costermongers ; in- 
deed, amongst tramps, they term themselves the " harristocrats 
of the streets," and boast that they live by their intellects. 
Like the costermongers, however, they have a secret tongue or 
cant speech known only to each other. This cant, which has 
nothing to do with that spoken by the costermongers, is known 
in Seven Dials and elsewhere as the " rhyming slang," or the 
substitution of words and sentences which rhyme with other 
words intended to be kept secret The chaun tar's cant, there- 
fore, partakes of his calling, and he transforms and uses up into 
a rough speech the various odds and ends of old songs, ballads, 
and street nicknames, which are found suitable to his purpose. 
Unlike nearly all other systems of cant, the rhyming slang 



is not founded upon allegory ; unless we except a few rude 
similes, thus "I'm afloat" is the rhyming cant for "boat," 
" sorrowful tale" is equivalent to " three months in jail," " artful 
dodger" signifies a " lodger," and a u snake in the grass" stands 
for a "looking-glass" a meaning that would delight a fat 
Chinaman, or a collector of Oriental proverbs. But, as in the 
case of the costers' speech and the old gipsy-vagabond cant, 
the chaunters and patterers so interlard this rhyming slang 
with their general remarks, while their ordinary language is so 
smothered and subdued, that, unless when they are profession- 
ally engaged, and talking of their wares, they might almost pass 
for foreigners. 

From the inquiries I have made of various patterers and 
"paper-workers," I learn that the rhyming slang was intro- 
duced about twelve or fifteen years ago.* Numbering this 
class of oratorical and bawling wanderers at twenty thousand, 
scattered over Great Britain, including London and the large 
provincial towns, we thus see the number of English vagabonds 
who converse in rhyme and talk poetry, although their habita- 
tions and mode of life constitute a very unpleasant Arcadia. 
These nomadic poets, like the other talkers of cant or secret 
languages, are stamped with the vagabond's mark, and are con- 
tinually on the move. The married men mostly have lodgings 
in London, and come and go as occasion may require. A few 
never quit London streets, but the greater number tramp to all 
Jhe large provincial fairs, and prefer the " monkery" (country^ 
T> town life. Some transact their business in a systematic way, 
sending a post-office order to the Seven Dials' printer for a 
fresh supply of ballads or penny books, or to the " swag shop," 
as the case may be, for trinkets and gewgaws, to be sent on by 
rail to a given town by the time they shall arrive there. 

When any dreadful murder, colliery explosion, or frightful 

* This was written in 1858. 


railway accident has happened in a country district, three or 
four chaunters are generally on the spot in a day or two after 
the occurrence, vending and bawling "A True and Faithful 
Account," &c., which " true and faithful account" was con- 
cocted purely in the imaginations of the successors of Catnach 
and Tommy Pitts,* behind the counters of their printing-shops 
in Seven Dials. And but few fairs are held in any part of 
England without the patterer being punctually at his post, with 
his nostrums, or real gold rings (with the story of the wager laid 
by the gentleman see FAWNEY-BOUNCING, in the Dictionary), 
or savealls for candlesticks, or paste which, when applied to 
the strop, makes the dullest razor keen enough to hack broom 
handles and sticks, and after that to have quite enough sharp- 
ness left for splitting hairs, or shaving them off the back of one 
of the hands of a clodhopper, looking on in amazement. And 
Cheap John, too, with his coarse jokes, and no end of six- 
bladed knives, and pocket-books, containing information for 
everybody, with pockets to hold money, and a pencil to write 
with into the bargain, and a van stuffed with the cheap produc- 
tions of Sheffield and " Brummagem," he, too, is a patterer of 
the highest order, and visits fairs, and can hold a conversation 
in the rhyming slang. 

Such is a rough description of the men who speak this jargon; 
and simple and ridiculous as the vulgar scheme of a rhyming 
slang may appear, it must always be regarded as a curious fact 
in linguistic history. In order that the reader's patience may 
not be too much taxed, only a selection of rhyming words has 
been given in the Glossary, and these for the most part, as in 
the case of the back slang, are the terms of every-day life, as 
used by this order of tramps and hucksters. 

It must not be supposed, however, that the chaunter or pat- 

* The famous printers and publishers of sheet songs and last dying 
speeches thirty years ago. 


terer confines himself entirely to this slang when conveying 
secret intelligence. On the contrary, although he speaks not a 
" leash of languages," yet is he master of the beggar's cant, and 
is thoroughly " up" in street slang. The following letter, written 
by a chaunter to a gentleman who took an interest in his welfare, 
will show his capabilities in this line : 

Dear Friend,* 

Excuse the liberty, since i saw you last i have not 
earned a thick un, we have had such a Dowry of Parny that it 
completely Stumped Drory the Bossman's Patter therefore i am 
broke up and not having another friend but you i wish to know 
if you would lend me the price of 2 Gross of Tops, Dies, or 
Croaks, which is 7 shillings, of the above-mentioned worthy 
and Sarah Chesham the Essex Burick for the Poisoning job, 
they are both to be topped at Springfield Sturaban on Tuesday 
next i hope you will oblige me if you can, for it will be the 
means of putting a James in my Clye. i will call at your 
Carser on Sunday Evening next for an answer, for i want a 

* The writer, a street chaunter of ballads and last dying speeches, 
alludes in his letter to two celebrated criminals Thos. Drory, the mur- 
derer of Jael Denny, and Sarah Chesham, who poisoned her husband, 
accounts of whose trials and ' ' horrid deeds" he had been selling. Here if 
a Glossary of the cant words : 

Thick un, a sovereign. 
Dowry of Parny, a lot of rain. 
Stumped, bankrupt. 
Bossman, a farmer. 

%* Drory was a farmer. 

Patter, trial. 

Tops, last dying speeches. 
Dies, it. 

Croaks, iff. 

Burick, a woman. 

Topped, hung. 

Sturaban, a prison. 

James, a sovereign. 

Clye, a pocket. 

Carser, a house or residence. 

Sped on the Drum, to be off to 

the country. 
All Square, all right, or quite 


6 B2 


Speel on the Drum as soon as possible, hoping you and the 
family are All Square, 

I remain Your obedient Servant, 

The numerous allusions in the Glossary to well-known places 
to London show that this rude speech was mainly concocted in 
the metropolis. The police have made themselves partially 
acquainted with the back slang, but they are still profoundly 
ignorant of the rhyming slang. 


, f ;ince the foregoing was written, matters have changed con- 
siderably, even, which I much doubt, if they ever were as is 
stated ; for, as I have already remarked, wherever opportunity 
has occurred, the costermonger, the patterer, the chaunter, and 
the various other itinerants who " work" London and the pro- 
vinces, delight in making themselves appear a most mysterious 
body ; and this, when added to their natural disinclination to 
commit themselves to anything like fact so far as their natural 
enemies inquirers, and well-dressed inquirers in particular 
are concerned, has caused all sorts of extraordinary stories to 
be set afloat, which have ultimately led to an opinion becoming 
prevalent, that the costermonger and his friends form a race of 
beings differing entirely from those who mix in the ordinary 
humdrum routine of respectable life. Nothing could really be 
much further from fact. Any one who has ever been driven 
by stress of circumstances or curiosity to take up a permanent 
or temporary residence in any of the lodging-houses which 
abound in St. Giles's, Saffron Hill, Turnmill Street, and in all 
parts of the eastern district of the metropolis, will bear me out 


when I say that a more commonplace individual, so far as his 
inner life is concerned, than the London itinerant cannot pos- 
sibly exist. Certainly he is ignorant, and takes a very limited 
view of things in general, and religion and politics in particular ; 
but these peculiarities are held in common with his betters, 
and so cannot be regarded as the special prerogative of any 
class. If you ask him a question he will attempt to mislead 
you, because, by your asking the question, he knows you are 
ignorant of his way of life ; and when he does not mystify from 
love of mischief, as it appears he does from all published 
books I have seen about him, he does so as a duty he owes 
his natural enemies, the parish authorities and the tract 
distributors, the latter of whom he holds in special abhor- 

If the rhyming slang was ever, during its existence, regarded 
as a secret language, its secrecy has long since departed 
from it Far easier of construction than even the back 
slang, it has been common, especially in several printing-offices 
I could name, for many years, while street-boys are great pro- 
ficients in its small mysteries. The Glossary which follows 
here will explain a good deal of its mechanism ; but it must be 
borne in mind that the rhymes are all matters of individual 
opinion, and that if one man says Allaconipain means rain, 
another is quite justified in preferring Mary Blane, if his indi- 
vidual fancy lies in that direction. And now, if there is any 
secret about the rhyming slang, it is this the rhyme is left out. 
This may at first seem extraordinary ; but on reflection it will be 
seen that there is no other way of making the proceedings of its 
exponents puzzling to ordinarily sharp ears which have received 
the slightest clue. Thus, when the first word of a series only 
is used, and others in the sentence are made up from the back, 
the centre and various slangs, there is some hope of fogging an 
intruding listener to a private conversation. When a man ii 


drunk, the rhyming slang would illustrate that fact by the words 
" Elephant's trunk ;" but the practised hand confines himself 
to the statement that " Bill's Elephants." " Bullock's horn" 
represents to pawn, but an article is said to be " Bullocked" 
only; and so on through the list, providing always that the 
curtailment represents two syllables ; if it does not, then the 
entire rhyme is given. 

I think that this will be sufficient to guide those readers 
anxious to become proficient themselves, or to understand 
others who are themselves proficient at this item in the world 
of slang; and so I have nothing more to say except to call 
attention to the fact that, in all the other introductions, I have 
made my corrections, which have been neither few nor un> 
important, in the text ; but that I could see no way of working 
on the subject of the rhyming slang fairly and explicitly other 
than by means of this note. EDITOR. 


Abraham's willing, a shilling. 
Allacompain, rain. 
Any racket, a penny faggot. 
Apples and pears, stairs. 
Artful dodger, a lodger. 
Baby's pap, a cap. 
Barnet fair, hair. 

Battle of the Nile, a tile vulgar term for a hat. " Cool his B^TUE, 


Ben flake, a steak. 
Billy Button, mutton. 
Birch-broom, a room. 
Bird-lime, time. 

Bob, my pal, a gal, vulgar pronunciation of girL 
Bonnets so blue, Irish stew. 
Bottle of spruce, a deuce, slang for twopence. 
Bowl the hoop, soup. 
Brian o'Linn, gin. 
Brown Bess, yes the affirmative. 
Brown Joe, no the negative. 
Bull and cow, a row. 

Bucket afloat, a coat. This is also called I'm AFLOAT, and is 
generally contracted to " cool his Imer," or " nark his bucket." There 
is no necessity to particularize all contractions. With the key already 
given they will be evident. 

Bullock's horn, in pawn. 

Bushy-park, a lark. 

Butter flap, a trap, a light cart 

Cain and Abel, a table. 

Camden-town, a brown, vulgar term for a halfpenny. 

Castle rag, a flag, cant term for fourpence. 

Cat and mouse, a house. 

Chalk farm, the arm. 

Charing Cross, a horse. 

Charley Lancaster, a handkercher, vulgar pronunciation of hand- 

Charley Prescott, a waistcoat. 


Cherry ripe, a pipe. 

Chevy chase, the face. 

Chump (OR CHUNK) of wood, no good. 

Covent Garden, a farden, Cockney pronunciation of farthing. 

Cow and calf, to laugh. 

COWS and kisses, mistress or missus referring to the ladies. 

Currants and plums, thrums, slang for threepence. 

Daisy roots, a pair of boots. 

Dan Tucker, butter. 

Ding-dong, a song. 

Dry land, you understand. 

Duke Of York, walk, or talk, according to context. 

East and south, the mouth. 

Eat a fig, to ' crack a crib," to break into a house, or commit a bur- 


Egyptian hall, a ball. 

Elephant's trunk, drunk. 

Epsom races, a pair of braces. 

Everton toffee, coffee. 

Field of wheat, a street. 

Fillet Of veal, the tread wheel in the house of correction. 

Finger and thumb, rum. 

Flag unfurled, a man of the world. 

Flea and louse, a house. 

Flounder and dab (two kinds of flat fish), a cab. 

Fly my kite, a light. 

Frog and toad, the main road. 

Garden gate, a magistrate. 

German flutes, a pair of boots. 

Girl and boy, a saveloy, a penny sausage. 

Glorious sinner, a dinner. 

Gooseberry pudding (vulgo PUDDEN), a woman. 

Harry Bluff, snuff. 

Hod of mortar, a pot of porter. 

Hounslow Heath, teeth. 

E desire, a fire. 

I'm afloat, a boat. This is also used for coat. See ante. 

Isabeller (vulgar pronunciation of ISABELLA), an umbrella. 

Isle Of France, a dance. 

I suppose, the nose. 

Jack-a-dandy, brandy. 

Jack Randall (a noted pugilist), a candle 


Jenny Linder, a winder, vulgar pronunciation of windoy. 

Joe Savage, a cabbage. 

Lath and plaster, a master. 

Lean and lurch, a church. 

Lean and fat, a hat. 

Linendraper, paper. 

Live eels, fields. 

Load of hay, a day. 

Long acre, a baker. 

Lord John Russell, a bustle. 

Lord Level, a shovel. 

Lump of coke, a bloke vulgar term for a man. 

Lump of lead, the head. 

Macaroni, a pony. 

Maids adorning, the morning. 

Maidstone jailer, a tailor. 

Mince pies, the eyes. 

Mother and daughter, water. 

Muffin baker, a Quaker (slang term for excrement). 

Navigators, taturs, vulgar pronunciation of potatoes* 

Navigator Scot, baked potatoes all hot. 

Needle and thread, bread. 

Never fear, beer. 

Night and day, the play. 

Nose and chin, a winn, ancient cant for a pennf. 

Noser my knacker, tobacco. 

Oats and barley, Charley. 

Oats and chaff, a footpath. 

Orinoko (pronounced ORINOKER), a poker. 

Over the stile, sent for trial. 

Paddy Quick, thick, or a stick. 

Pen and ink, a stink. 

Pitch and fill, Bill, vulgar shortening for William. 

Plates of meat, the feet. 

Plough the deep, to go to sleep. 

Pope o' Borne, home. 

Bead and write, to fight 

Biver Lea, tea. 

Bogue and villain, a shillin, common pronunciation of shillir.%. 

Boil me in the dirt, a shirt. 

Bory o'More, the floor. Also used to signify a whore. 

Bound the houses, trousies, vulgar pronunciation of trousers. 


Salmon and trout, the mouth. 

Scotch Peg, a leg. 

Ship in full sail, a pot of ale. 

Sir Walter Scott, a pot, generally of beer. 

Snake in the grass, a looking-glass. 

Sorrowful tale, three months in jaiL 

Split asunder, a costermongcr. 

Steam-packet, a jacket. 

St. Martin's-le- Grand, the hand. 

Stop thief, beef. 

Sugar and honey, money. 

Sugar-candy, brandy. 

Take a fright, night. 

Three-quarters of a peck, the neck, !n writing, among experts, 

expressed by the simple " j," as it is pronounced. 
Tom Tug, a mug (a fool). 

Tommy O* Rann, scran, vulgar term for food. 
Tommy Tripe, to pipe ; that is, to observe. " Tommy Tripe his 

plates of meat." 

Top Jint (vulgar pronunciation of joint), a pint of beet 
Turtle doves, a pair of gloves. 

Two-foot rule, fooL 

And. so on as occasion require*. 


WITHIN the past few years the desire to possess a mode 
of intercommunication which shall be incomprehen- 
sible to those who have not taken their degrees in vice, has led 
the dangerous classes particularly street-muggers, welchers, 
skittle-sharps, jerry-hunters, and the various other gentlemen 
who turn out every morning, when not in charge of the powers 
that be, to look for their livings to give their attention to 
another twist in the English language, and so centre slang 
has of late been heard with some degree of frequency by 
those who penetrate to places where there is a likelihood 
of finding anything new, and take with them sufficient know- 
ledge to comprehend it when, or if, it is found. As this 
knowledge can never be acquired in any other way than by 
actual observation, and is not to be obtained by hearsay, or 
second-hand information, or from books, it is rarely brought to 
bear upon any subject of this kind as treated in the newspapers, 
and the articles on real low and criminal life which now and 
again appear, though extremely amusing, amuse those about 
whom they are written as much as they do those for whose infor- 
mation they are produced. So, perhaps, those writers who have 
heard centre slang, and have had opportunity of referring to it, 
did not know what it was, or certainly, as an institution unique 
in its way, it would have received some little attention. There 
is not much in it, of course, as its origin shows, the key 
being everything towards success in experimentalizing with it 
centre slang, then, is formed by making the central vowel of a 
word its initial letter, and adding vowels and consonants suffi- 
cient to make the sound imposing, or, as cooks say, to flavour 


palatably. An occasional infusion of back slang is now and 
again considered advisable, but the taste of the speaker must 
decide how much is requisite. Mug is a common word to sig- 
nify a fool or flat ; this, in centre slang, becomes Ugmer, or 
Hugmer, as the speaker likes, while fool and flat themselves 
become Oolerfer and Atfler respectively. The aspirate can be 
added, if relished, to any centre slang word. A welcher, by 
means of the HCAV slang, becomes an tlcherwer or Elchwer, 2 
thief is an Evethee, and a sticker-up of skittles is an Ickitser-pu. 
As the inventors of this slang are not particular about spelling, 
phonography is used extensively in its composition that is, it 
would be, if it were possible to write centre slang to any extent. 
However, as it is a spoken language only, and no patent has 
been taken out for its use, boldness is the chief essential for 
any one possessed of a mobile tongue and a desire to become 
expert. There is no Glossary of this slang necessary, as it is 
only made up of small parcels, as occasion requires, and does 
not keep well without guiding sentences attached. 




SLANG has a literary history, the same as authorized lan- 
guage. More than one hundred works have treated upon 
the subject in one form or other, a few devoting but a chapter, 
whilst many have given up their entire pages to expounding its 
history and use. Old Harman, a worthy man, who interested 
himself in suppressing and exposing vagabondism in the days 
of good Queen Bess, was the first to write upon the subject. 
Decker followed fifty years afterwards, but helped himself, 
evidently, to his predecessor's labours. Shakspeare, Beaumont 
and Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and Brome, each employed beggars' 
cant as part of the machinery of their plays. Then came Head 
(who wrote T7ie English Rogue in 1680) with a Glossary of cant 
words "used by the Gipsies." But it was only a reprint of 
what Decker had given sixty years before. About this time 
authorized dictionaries began to insert vulgar words, labelling 
them " cant." The Jack Sheppards and Dick Turpins of the 
early and middle part of the last century made cant popular, 
and many small works were published upon the subject. But 
it was Grose, burly, facetious Grose, who, in the year 1785, 
collected the scattered Glossaries of cant and secret words, and 
formed one large work, adding to it all the vulgar words and 


slang terms used in his own day. The indelicacy and extreme 
vulgarity of the work renders it unfit for ordinary use, still it 
must be admitted that it is by far the most important work 
which has ever appeared on street or popular language ; indeed, 
from its pages every succeeding work has, up to the present 
time, drawn its contents. The great fault of Grose's book con- 
sists in the author not contenting himself with slang and cant 
terms, but inserting every " smutty" and offensive word that 
could be discovered. However, Harman and Grose are, after 
all, the only authors who have as yet treated the subject in an 
original manner, or who have written on it from personal 

Ainsworth's (William Harrison) Novels and Ballads. London, v. D. 

Amorous Gallants' Tongue tipp'd with Golden Expres- 
sions ; or the Art of Courtship refined, being the best and Newest 
ACADEMY ; containing Select Sentences, forms of Courtship ; Choice 
Letters ; Interpretation of Dreams : to which is added Bills, Bonds, 
Releases, Letters of Attorney, &c. ; together with A Canting Academy, 
or the PEDLAR'S FRENCH DICTIONARY, i3th edition. London, for 
C. Hitch and L. Hawes, n. d. [1740], I2mo. 

A New Dictionary of the Jaunting Crew, i2mo. N. D. 

Mentioned by John Bee in the Introduction to his Sportsman 't Slatt? Dic- 

Andrews' (George) Dictionary of the Slang and Cant Language^ 
Ancient and Modern, 12 mo. London, 1809 

A sixpenny pamphlet, with a coloured frontispiece representing a beggarV 

Ash's (John, LL.D.) New and Complete Dictionary of the Engli* 
Language, 2 vols. 8vo. I 77S 

Contains a great number of Cant words and phrases. 

Bacchus and Venus ; or, A Select Collection of near Two Hundred 
of the most Witty and Diverting Songs and Catches in Love and 
Gallantry, with Songs in the Canting Dialect, with a DICTIONARY 
explaining all Burlesque and Canting Terms, 12 mo. 173& 

Prefixed Is a curious woodcut frontispiece of a Boozing-Ken. This work U 
scarce, and much prized by collectors. The Canting Dictionary appeared 
before, about 1710, with the initials B.E. on the title. It also came out 
afterwards, in the year 1751, under the title of the Scoundrefs Dictionary, 
- a mere reprint of the two former impressions. 


Bailey's (Nath.) Etymological English Dictionary, 2 vols. 8vo. 1737. 

Contains a great mny Cant and Vulgar Words ; indeed, Bailey does not 
appear to have been very particular what words he inserted, so long a* 
they were actually in use. A Collection of A ncient and Modern Cunt Word* 
appears as an appendix to vol. ii. of this edition (third). 

Bang-up Dictionary ; or, the Lounger and Sportsman's Vade-Mecum, 
containing a copious and correct Glossary of the Language of the 
Whips, illustrated by a great variety of original and curious Anec- 
dotes, 8vo. 1812. 

A vulgar performance, consisting of pilferings from Grose, and made up with 
meanings of a degraded character. 

Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms ; a Glossary of Words and 
Phrases colloquially used in the United States, 8vo. New York, 1859. 
It is a curious fact connected with slang that a great number of vulgar words 
common in England are equally common in the United States ; and when 
-e remember that America began to be peopled two centuries ago, and that 

words, owing to the caprices of fashion or society, UAYC wjiuuy disappeared 
in the parent country, whilst in the colonies they are yet heara. The 
words " skink," to serve drink in company, and the old term " miching" or 
"meeching," skulking or playing truant, for instance, are still in use in the 
United States, although nearly obsolete here. 

Beaumont and Fletcher's Comedy of The Beggar's Busk, 4to, 

Contains numerous Cant words. 

Bee's (Jon.) Dictionary of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, the Pit, the 

Bon Ton, and the Varieties of Life, forming the completest and most 

authentic Lexicon Balatronicum hitherto offered to the notice of the 

Sporting World, by John Bee [i.e., John Badcock], Editor of the 

Fancy, Fancy Gazette, Living Picture of London, and the like of that, 

lamo. 1823. 

This author published books on Stable Economy under the name of Hinds. 

He was the sporting rival of Pierce Egan. Professor Wilson, in an amusing 

article in Blackwood's Magazine, reviewed this work. 

Bee's (Jon.) Living Picture of London for 1828, and Stranger's Guide 

through the Streets of the Metropolis ; showing the Frauds, the Arts, 

Snares, and Wiles of all descriptions of Rogues that everywhere 

abound, I2mo. 1828. 

Professes to be a guide to society, high and low, in London, and to give an 

insight into the language of the streets. 

Bee's (Jon.) Sportsman's Slang ; a New Dictionary of Terms used in the 
Affairs of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, and the Cockpit ; with those 
of Bon Ton and the Varieties of Life, forming a Lexicon Balatronicum 
et Macaronicum, &c., I2mo, PLATE. For the Author, 1825. 

The same as the preceding, only with an altered title. Both wretched perform- 
ances, filled with miserable attempts at wit 

Blackguardiana ; or, Dictionary of Rogues, Bawds, &c., 8vo, WITH 

PORTRAITS [by James Caulfield]. 1795- 

This work, with a long nd very vulgar title, is nothing but a reprint of Grose, 

with a few anecdotes of pirates, odd persons, &c., and some curious portrait* 

inserted. It was concocted by Caulfield as a speculation, and published at 


one guinea per copy ; and, owing to the remarkable title, and the notifica- 
tion at the bottom that " only a few copies were printed," soon became 
scarce. For philological purposes it is not worth so much as any edition of 

Book of Vagabonds. See under LIBER VAGATORUM. 
Boxiana ; or, Sketches of Modern Pugilism, by Pierce Egan (an account 
of the prize-ring), 3 vols. 8vo. 1820. 

Gives more particularly the Cant terms of pugilism, but contains numerous (what 
were then styled) ' flash" words. 

/Brandon. Poverty, Mendicity, and Crime ; or, The Facts, Examina- 
tions, &c., upon which the Report was founded, presented to the 
House of Lords by W. A. Miles, Esq., to which is added a Dictionary 
of the Flash or Cant Language, known to every Thief and Beggar, 
edited by H. Brandon, Esq., 8vo. 1839. 

A very wretched performance. 

Brome's (Rich.) Joviall Crew ; or, The Merry Beggars. Presented in a 
Comedie at the Cockpit, in Drury Lane, in the Year (4to) 1652. 

Contains many Cant words similar to those given by Decker, from whose works 
they were doubtless obtained. 

Brown's (Rev. Hugh Stowell) Lecture on Manliness, I2mo. 1857. 

Contains a few modern Slang words. 
BrydgGS' (Sir Egerton) British Bibliographer, 4 vols. 8vo. 1810 14. 

Vol. ii. p. 521, gives a list of Cant words. 
Bulwer's (Sir Edward Lytton) Paul Clifford. V. O. 

Contains numerous Cant words. 
Bulwer's (Sir Edward Lytton) Pelham. V. D. 

Contains a few Cant terms. 
Butler's Hudibras, with Dr. Grey's Annotations, 3 vols. 8vo. 1819. 

Abounding in colloquial terms and phrases. 

Cambridge. Gradus ad Cantabrigiam ; or, a Dictionary of Terms, 
Academical and Colloquial, or Cant, which are used at the University, 
with Illustrations, 121110. Camb., 1803. 

Canting : A Poem, interspersed with Tales and Additional Scraps, post 
8vo. 1814. 

A few street words may be gleaned from this rather dull poem. 

Canting Academy ; or, Villanies Discovered, wherein are shown the 
Mysterious and Villanous Practices of that Wicked Crew Hectors, 
Trapanners, Gilts, &c. , with several new Catches and Songs ; also 
Compleat Canting Dictionary, I2mo, frontispiece. 1674. 

Compiled by Richard Head. 

Canting Dictionary; comprehending all the Terms, Antient and 
Modern, used in the several Tribes of Gypsies, Beggars, Shoplifters, 
Highwaymen, Foot-Pads, and all other Clans of Cheats and Villains, 
with Proverbs, Phrases, Figurative Speeches, &c., to which is added a 
complete Collection of Songs in the Canting Dialect, I2mo. 1725. 

The title is by far the most interesting part of the work A mere make-up of 
earlier attemp 


CareW. Life and Adventures of Bamfylde Moore Care\r, the King of 
the Beggars, -with Canting Dictionary, portrait, 8vo. 1791. 

There are numerous editions of this singular biography. The Canting Dic- 
tionary is nothing more than a filch from earlier books. 

Ciiaraoterisms, or the Modern Age Displayed ; being an Attempt to 
Expose the Pretended Virtues of Both Sexes, I2mo (part i., Ladies ; 
part ii., Gentlemen), E. Owen. 1750. 

An anonymous work, from which some curious matter may be obtained. 
Conybeare'S (Dean) Essay on Church Parties, reprinted from the 
Edinburgh Review, No. CC., October, 1853, I2mo. 1858 

Several curious instances of religious or pulpit Slang are given in this exceed- 
ingly interesting little volume. 

Corcoron (Peter.) The Fancy, a Poem, I2mo. 182-. 

Abounding In Slang words and the terms of th prize-ring. Written in imitation 
of Moore's Tom Grid's Memorial, by one of the author* of Tht Rejecttd 

Cotton's (Charles) Genuine Poetical Works, ramo. 1771. 

" Scarronides, or Virgil Travestie, being the first and fourth Books of Virgil's 
/Eueis, in English burlesque," Svo, 1672, and other works by this author, 
contain numerous vulgar words now known as Slang. 

Dicker's (Thomas) The Bellman of London ; bringing to light the most 
notorious villanies that are now practised in the Kingdom ; 4to, black 
Utter. London, 1608. 

Watt says this is the fivst book which professes to give an account of the 
Canting language of thieves and vagabonds. But this is wrong, as will have 
been seen from the remarks on Harman, who collected the words of the 
vagabond crew half a century before. 

Decker's (Thomas) Lanthome and Candle-light, or the Bellman's Second 

Night's Walke, in which he brings to light a brood of more strange 

villanies than ever were to this year discovered, 4to. London, 1608-9. 

This is a continuation of the former work, and contains the Canter's Dictionary, 

and has a frontispiece of the London Watchman with his staff broken. 

Decker's (Thomas) Gull's Hornbook, 4to. 1609. 

' This work affords a greater insight into the fashionable follies and vulgar 
habits of Queen Elizabeth's day than perhaps any other extant." 

Decker's (Thomas) O per se O, or a new Cryer of Lan thorn e and 
Candle-light, an Addition of the Bellman's Second Night's Walke, 410, 
bl?cfe Inter. 1612. 

A lively description of London. Contains a Canter's Dictionary, every word in 
which appears to have been taken from Harman without acknowledgment. 
This is the first work that gives the Canting song, a verse of which is inserted 
at page 14 of the Introduction. This Canting song has since been inserted ii 
nearly all dictionaries of Cant. 

Deoker's (Thomas) Villanies discovered by Lanthorne and Candle-light, 
and the Helpe of a new Cryer called O per se O, 4to. 1616. 

"With canting songs never before printed." 

Decker's (Thomas) English Villanies, eight several times prest to Death 
by the Printer* but still reviving again, are now the eighth time (as 
at the first) discovered by Lanthorne and Candle-light, &c., 4to. 1648. 
The eighth edition of the LuHtkome and CaHdlt-Ught. 

c r 


Dictionary of all the Cant and Flash Languages, both Ancient and 

Modern, i8mo. Bailey, 1790. 

Dictionary of all the Cant and Flash Languages, ramo. London, 1797 

Dictionary of the Canting Crew (Ancient and Modern), of Gypsies, 

Beggars, Thieves, &c., I2mo. N.D. [1700.] 

Dictionnaire des Halle, I2mo. Bruxdlcs, 1696. 

This curious Slang dictionary sold in the Stanley sale for 4 i6s. 
Ducange An^ .CUS. The Vulgar Tongue : comprising Two Glos 
saries of Slang, Cant, and Flash Words and Phrases used in London 
at the present day, I2mo. 1857. 

A silly and childish performance, full of blunders and contradictions. 
Duncombe's Flash Dictionary of the Cant Words, Queer Sayings, and 
Crack Terms now in use in Flash Cribb Society, 32mo, coloured print. 

Dunton's Ladies' Dictionary, 8vo. London, 1694. 

Contains a few Cant and vulgar words. 

Egan. Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, with the 
addition of numerous Slang Phrases, edited by Pierce Egan, 8vo. 1823. 
The best edition of Grose, with many additions, including a life of this cele- 
brated antiquary. 

Egan's (Pierce) Life in London, 2 vols. thick 8vo, with coloured plates by 
Geo. Cruikshank, representing high and low life. 1 8 . 

Contains numerous Cant, Slang, sporting, and vulgar words, supposed by the 
author to form the basis of conversation in life, high and low, in London. 

Elwyn'S (Alfred L.) Glossary of supposed Americanisms Vulgar and 
Slang Words used in the United States, small 8vo. 1859. 

Gentleman's Magazine, 8vo. N. D. 

" In a very early volume of this parent magazine were given a few pages, by 
way of sample, of a Slang vocabulary, then termed Cant. If, as we suspect, 
this part of the magazine fell to the share of Dr. Johnson, who was then its 
editor, we have to lament that he did not proceed with the design." John 
Bee, in ike Introduction to his Slang Dictionary, 1825. 

Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xcii, p. 520. 

Mention made of Slang. 

Glossaries of County Dialects. v. D. 

Many of these will repay examination, as they contain Cant nd Slang words, 
wrongly inserted as provincial or old terms. 

Golden Cabinet (The) of Secrets opened for Youth's delightful Pas- 
time, in 7 parts, the last being the " City and Country Jester ;" with 
a Canting Dictionary, by Dr. Surman, I2mo. London, N. D. (1730.) 
Contains some curious woodcuts. 

Greene's (Robert) Notable Discovery of Coosnage, now daily practised 
by sundry lewd persons called Conie-catchers and Crosse-biters. 
Plainly laying open those pernitious sleights that hath brought many 
ignorant men to confusion. Written for the general benefit of all 
Gentlemen, Citizens, Apprentices, Country Farmers, and Yeomen, 
that may hap to fall into th* company of such coosening companions. 


With a delightful discourse of the coosnage of Colliers, 4to, with wood- 
"& Printed by John Wolfe, 1591 . 

The first edition. A copy of another edition, supposed to be witqta, U dated 
1593. It was sold at the Heber sale. 

Greene's (Robert) Groundworke of Conny-catching, the manner of their 
pedlers' French, and the meanes to understand the same, with the cun- 
ning sleights of the Counterfeit Cranke. Done by a Justice of the 
Peace of great Authoritie, 410, with woodcuts. 1592. 

Usually enumerated among Greene's works, but it is only a reprint, with 
variations, of Harntan s Caveat, and of which Rowland complains in hit 
Martin Markall. The second and thirJ parts of this curious work were 
published in the same year. Two other very rare volumes by Greene were 
published The Defence of Cony-Catching, 410, in 1592, and THB BLACK 
BOOKKS MESSENGER, in 1595. They both treat on the same subjects. 
Grose's (Francis, generally styled Captain) Classical Dictionary of the 
Vulgar Tongue, 8vo. 178-. 

The much-sought-after FIRST EDITION, but containing nothing, as far as I have 
examined, which is not to be found in the second and third editions. As 


edition. Excepting the obscenities, it is really an extraordinary book, 
and displays great industry, if we cannot speak much of its morality. It U 
the well from which all the other authors Duncombe (> Caulfield, Clarke, 
Egan, &c. &c. drew their vulgar outpourings, without in the least purify- 
ing what they had stolen. 

Hag gar t. Life of David Haggart, olios John Wilson, olios Barnej 
M'Coul, written by himself while under sentence of death, curious 
frontispiece of the prisoner in irons, intermixed with all the Slang and 
Cant words of the day, to which is added a Glossary of the same, 
I2ino. 1821. 

Hall's (B.H.) Collection of College Words and Customs, i2mo. 

Cambridge (U.S.), 1856, 

Very complete. The illustrative examples are excellent. 

Halliwell'S Archaic Dictionary, 2 vols. 8ro. 1855. 

An invaluable work, giving the Cant words used by Decker, Drome, and a few of 

those mentioned by Grose. 

Harlequin Jack Shepherd, with a Night Scene in Grotesque Charac 
ters, 8vo. (About 1736.) 

Contains Songs in the Canting dialect 

Herman's (Thomas, Esq.) Caveat or Warening for Common Cursetors, 

vulgarly called vagabones, set forth for the utilitie and profit of his 

naturall countrey, augmented and inlarged by the first author thereof; 

whereunto is added the tale of the second taking of the counterfeit 

crank, with the true report of his behaviour and also his punishment 

for his so dissembling, most marvellous to the hearer or reader thereof, 

newly imprinted, 4to. Imprinted at London, by H. Middleton, 1573. 

Contains the earliest Dictionary of the Cant language. Four editions wew 

printed William Griffith, 1566 



Henry Middleton, 1573 

What GTOM'S Dictionary of the Vulgar Tenrtu -nt to the atnon of dM 
earlier part of the present century, Harmaas was W the Deckers, and 
Brotnes, and Heads of the seventeenth. 


Harrison's (William) Description of the Island of Britain (prefixed to 
HolinshecFs Chronicle), avols. folio. 1577- 

Contains an account of English vagabonds. 
Hazlitt's (William) Table Talk, ramo, (vol. ii. contains a chapter on 

Familiar Style, with a notice on Slang terms.) 

Head's (Richard) English Rogue, described in the Life of Meriton 
Latroon, a Witty Extravagant, 4 vols. I2mo. 

Frans. Kirkman, 1671-80. 

Contains a list of Cant words, evidently copied from Decker. 

Hell upon earth, or the most pleasant and delectable History of 
Whittington's Colledge, otherwise vulgarly called Newgate, I2mo. 


Henley's (John, better known as ORATOR HENLEY) Various Sermons and 
Orations. i7*9-53- 

Contains numerous vulgarisms and Slang phrases. 

[Hitching'S (Charles, formerly City Marshal, now a prisoner in New- 
gate)] Regulator ; or, a Discovery of the Thieves, Thief-Takers, and 
Locks, alia* Receivers of Stolen Goods in and about the City of London; 
also an account of all the flash words now in vogue amongst the 
Thieves, &c., 8vo, very rare, with a curious woodcut. 1718. 

A violent attack upon Jonathan Wild. 
Household Words, No. 183, September 24. 

Gives an interesting article on Slang, with many examples. 
Johnson's (Dr. Samuel) Dictionary (the earlier editions). Y. D. 

Contains a great number of words italicized as Cant, low, or barbarous, 
Jonson's (Ben.) Bartholomew Fair, ii. 6. 

Several Cant words are placed in the mouths of the characters. 

Jonson's (Ben.) Masque of the Gipsies Metamorphosed, 4to. 16 . 

Contains numerous Cant words. 

Kent's (E.) Modern Flash Dictionary, containing all the Cant words, 
Slang Terms, and Flash Phrases now in Vogue, i8mo, coloured frontis- 
piece. 1825. 

L'Estrange's (Sir Roger) Works (principally translations). V. D. 

Abound in vulgar and Slang phrases. 

Lexicon Balatronicum ; a Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, 
and Pickpocket Eloquence, by a Member of the Whip Club, assisted 
by Hell-fire Dick, 8 vo. 1 8 1 1 . 

One of the many reprints of Grose's second edition, put forth under a fresh, and 
what was then considered a more attractive title. It was given out in adver- 
tisements, &c., as a piece of puff, that it was edited by a Dr. H. Clarke, but 
contains scarcely a Line more than Grose. 

liber Vagatorum : Der Betler Orden, 410. Translated into English, 
with Notes, by John Camden Hotten, as The Book of Vagabonds and 
Beggars, with a vocabulary of their Language (Rotiudsche SpracK) ; 
edited, with preface, by Martin Luther, in the year 1528. 410, with 
woodcuts. 1859 


The first edition of this book appears to have bee? printed at Augsburg, by 
Erhard Oglin, or Ocellus, about 1514, a small quarto of twelve leaves. It 
was frequently reprinted at other places in Germany: and in 1528 there 
appeared an edition at Wirtemberg, with a preface by Martin Luther, 
who says that the " Rotwelschc Sprach," the Cant language of the beggars, 
comes from the Jews, as it contains many Hebrew words, as any one wh 
understands that language may perceive. This book is divided into three 
parts, or sections ; the first gives a special account of the several orders of 
the ''Fraternity of Vagabonds;" the second, sundry " notaiilia" relating 
to the different classes of beggars previously described ; and the third consists 
of a " Rotwelsche Vocabulary," or " Canting Dictionary." There is a long 
notice of the " Liber Vagatorum" in the "Wicmarisches Jahrbuch," tote 
Band, 1856. Mayhew, in his London Labour, states that many of our Cant 
words are derived from the Jew fences. It is singular that a similar state- 
ment should have been made by Martin Luther more than three centuries 

Life in St. George's Fields ; or, The Rambles and Adventures of 
Disconsolate William, Esq., and his Surrey Friend, Flash Dick, with 
Songs and a FLASH DICTIONARY, 8vo. 1821 ; 

Maginn (Dr.) wrote Slang songs in BlackwoocTs Magazine. 1827. 

Mayhew'S (Henry) London Labour and the London Poor, 4 vols. 

An invaluable work to the inquirer into popular or street language. 

Mayhew'S (Henry) Great World of London, 8vo. 1857. 

An unfinished work, but containing several examples of the use and application 
of Cart and Slang words. 

Middleton (Thomas) and Decker's (Thomas) Roaring Girl ; or Moll 
Cut Purse, 4to. 1611. 

The conversation In one scene is entirely in the so-called pedlar's French. It 
is given in Dodsley's Old Plays. 

Modern Flash Dictionary, 48010. 1825. 

The smallest Slang dictionary ever printed ; intended for the waistcoat- 
pockets of the^ BLOODS" of the Prince Regent's time. 

MoncrieflfB Tom and Jerry, or Life in London, a Farce in Three Acts, 

1 2 mo. l8a<X 

An excellent exponent of the false and forced " high life" which was so popular 

during the minority of George IV. The farce had a run of a hundred 

nights, or more, and was a general favourite for years. It abounds in Cant, 

and the language of " gig," as it was then often termed. 

Mornings at Bow Street, by T. Wright, i2mo, with Illustration 
by George Cruikshank. Tegg, 1636. 

In this work a few etymologies of Slang words are attempted. 

New Canting Dictionary, izmo. * D. 

A copy of this work is described in Rod** Catalegtu of Elegant Literaturt, 
1845, part iv., No. 3128, with manuscript notes and additions in tM 
autograph of Isaac Reed, price ^x. 8s. 

New Dictionary of the Terms, Ancient and Modern, of the Canting 
Crew in its several tribes of Gypsies, Beggars, Thieves, Cheats, &c., 
with an addition of some Proverb, Phrases, figurative Speeches, &*., 
by B. E., GENT., I2mo. 

Afterwards Issued under the title of BattJuu and KMM, 1737, and iu 1754 m 
tile Seoundni* Dictionary. 


Dictionary of all the Cant and Flash Languages used by every 
class of offenders, from a Lully Prigger to a High Tober Gloak, small 
8vo, pp. 62. i79-v 

Mentioned by John Bee. 

Notes and. Queries. The invaluable Index to this most useful 
periodical may be consulted with advantage by the seeker after ety- 
mologies of Slang and Cant words. 

Parker. High and Low Life, A View of Society in, being the Adven- 
tures in England, Ireland, &c., of Mr. G. Parker, A Stage Itinerant, 
2 vols. in I, thick I2mo. Printed for the Author, 1781. 

A curious work, containing many Cant word*, with 100 orders of rogues and 

Parker's (Geo. ) Life's Painter of Variegated Characters, with a Dictionary 
of Cant Language and Flash Songs, to which is added a Dissertation 
on Freemasonry, portrait, 8vo. 1789. 

Pegge's (Samuel) Anecdotes of the English Language, chiefly regarding 
the Local Dialect of London and Environs, 8vo. 1803-41. 

Perry's (William) London Guide and Stranger's Safeguard against 
Cheats, Swindlers, and Pickpockets, by a Gentleman who has made 
the Police of the Metropolis an object of inquiry twenty- two years (no 
wonder when the author was in prison a good portion of that tune !) 

Contains a dictionary of Slang and Cant words. 

Phillip's New World of Words, folio. 1696. 

Pickering's (F.) Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases which 
have been supposed to be peculiar to the United States of America, 
to which is prefixed an Essay on the present state of the English 
Language in the United States, 8vo. Boston, 1816. 

The remark made upon Bart kit's Americanisms applies equally to this work, 

Picture of the Fancy, izmo. 18 . 

Contains numerous Slau terms. 

Potter's (H. T., of Clay, Worcestershire) New Dictionary of all the Cant 

and Flash Languages, both ancient and modern, Svo, pp. 62. 1790. 

Poulter. The Discoveries of John Poulter, alias Baxter, Svo, 48 pages. 


At pages 42. 43, there is an explanation of the " Language of Thieves, commonly 
called Cant." 

Prison-breaker, The, or the Adventures of John Sheppard, a Farce, 
Svo. London, 1725. 

Contains a Canting song, &c. 

Punch, or the London Charivari. 

Often points out Slang, vulgar, or abused words. It also occasionally employ* 
them In jokes or sketches of character. 

Quarterly Beview, vol. x. p. 528. 

Gives a paper on Americanisms and Slang phrase*. 

Randalls (Jack, the Pugilist, formerly of the "Hole in the Wall," 
Chancery Lane) Diary of Proceedings at the House of Call for Genius, 


edited by Mr. Breakwindow, to which are added several of Mr. B.'s 
minor pieces, I2mo. 1820. 

Believed to have been written by Thomas Moore. The venes are mostly paro- 
dies of popular authors, and abound in the Slang of pugilism, and th 
phraseology of the fast life of the period. 

Randall (Jack), a Few Selections from his Scrap-book ; to which are 
added Poems on the late Fight for the Championship, i2mo. 1822. 
Frequently quoted by Moore in Tom Crib's Memorial. 

Scoundrel's Dictionary ; or, an Explanation of the Cant Words 
used by Thieves, Housebreakers, Street-robbers, and Pickpockets 
about Town, with some curious Dissertations on the Art of Wheedling, 
&c., the whole printed from a copy taken on one of their gang, in the 
late scuffle between the watchman and a party of them on Clerkenwell 
Green, 8vo. 1754. 

A reprint of Bacchus and Venus, 1737. 
Sharp (Jeremy), The Life of an English Rogue, I2mo. 1740. 

Includes a "Vocabulary of the Gypsies' Cant." 
Sherwood's Gazetteer of Georgia, U.S., 8vo. 

Contains a glossary of words, Slang and vulgar, peculiar to the Southern States. 
Smith (Capt. Alexander), The Thieves' Grammar, I2mo, p. 28. 17 . 

A copy of this work is in the collection formed by Prince Lucien Bonaparte. 
Smith's (Capt.) Compleat History of the Lives and Robberies of the 
most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads, Shoplifters, and Cheats, of 
both Sexes, in and about London and Westminster, I2mo, vol. L 1719. 
This rolume contains "The Thieves' New Canting Dictionary of the Words, 
Proverbs, &c., used by Thieves." 

Smith's (Capt.) Thieves' Dictionary, I2mo. 1724. 

Snowden's Magistrate's Assistant, and Constable's Guide, thick small 

8vo. 1852. 

Gives a description of the various orders of cadgers, beggars, and swindlers, 

together with a Glossary of the Flash Language. 

Sportsman's Dictionary, 4to. 17- 

By an anonymous author. Contains some low sporting terms. 

Stanley's Remedy, or the Way how to Reform Wandring Beggars, 

Thieves, &c., wherein is shewed that Sodomes Sin of Idleness is the 

Poverty and the Misery of this Kingdome, 410. 1646. 

This work has an engraving on wood which is said to be the veritable original of 

Jim Crow. 

Swift's coarser pieces abound in vulgarities and Slang expressions. 

The Triumph of Wit, or Ingenuity displayed in its Perfection, being 

the Newest and most Useful Academy, Songs, Art of Love, and the 

Mystery and Art of Canting, with Poems, Songs, &c., in the Canting 

Language, i6mo. 7- Clarke, 1735. 

What is generally termed a shilling Chap Book. 

The Triumph of Wit, or the Canting Dictionary, being the Newest 
and most Useful Academy, containing the Mystery and art of Cant- 
ing, with the original and present management thereof, and the ends 
to which it serves and is employed, illustrated with Poems, Songs, and 



various Intrigues in the Canting Language, with the Explanations, &c., 
I2mo. Dublin, N. D. 

A Chap Book of 32 pages, circa 1760. 

The Whole Art Of Thieving and Defrauding Discovered : being 
a Caution to all Housekeepers, Shopkeepers, Salesmen, and others, 
to guard against Robbers of both Sexes, and the best Methods to pre- 
vent their Villanies ; to which is added an Explanation of most of the 
Cant terms in the Thieving Language, 8vo, pp. 46. 1 786. 

Thomas (I.), My Thought Book, 8vo. 1825. 

Contains a chapter on Slang. 

Tom Crib's Memorial to Congress, with a Preface, Notes, and Appendix 
by one of the Fancy [Tom Moore, the Poet], ramo. 1819. 

A humorous poem, abounding in Slang and pugilistic term, with a burle,aue 
essay on the classic origin of Slang. 

Vacabondes, the Fraternatye of, as well as of ruflyng Vacabones, as of 
beggerly, of Women as of Men, of Gyries as of Boyes, with their proper 
Names and Qualities, with a Description of the Crafty Company of 
Cousoners and Shifters, also the XXV. Orders of Knaves ; other- 
wyse called a Quartern of Knaves, confirmed by Cocke Lorell, 8vo. 
Imprinted at London by John Awdeley, dwellyng in little Britayne 
strete, without Aldersgate. 1575- 

It is stated in Ames' Typog. Antig., vol. ii. p. 885, that an edition bearing the 

date 1565 is in existence, and that the compiler was no other than old John 

Audley, the printer, himself. This conjecture, however, is very doubtful. 

As stated by Watt, it is more than probable that it was written by Harman, 

or was taken from his works, in MS. or print. 

Vaux'S (Count de, a swindler and pickpocket) Life, written by himself, 
2 vols., I2mo, to which is added a Canting Dictionary. 1819. 

These Memoirs were suppressed on account of the scandalous passages contained 
in them. 

Webster's (Noah) Letter to the Hon. John Pickering, on the Subject 

of his Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases supposed to be 

peculiar to the United States, 8vo, pp. 69. Boston, 1817. 

Wild (Jonathan), History of the Lives and Actions of Jonathan Wild, 

Thieftaker, Joseph Blake, alias Blueskin, Footpad, and John Shep- 

' pard, Housebreaker ; together with a Canting Dictionary by Jonathan 

Wild, woodcuts, I2mo. 1750. 

Wilson (Professor), contributed various Slang pieces to Slackwood's 

Magazine; including a Review of Bee's Dictionary. 

Witherspoon'8 (Dr., of America,) Essays on Americanisms, Perversions 

of Language in the United States, Cant phrases, &c., 8vo, in the 4th 

yol. of his works. Philadelphia, 1801. 

The earliest work on American vulgarisms. Originally published as a seri of 

Essays, entitled the Druid, which appeared in a periodical ir 1761. 






Bookstore, Londo 



A Dictionary of the Drama: A 

Guide to the Plavs. Piaywrigr.ts, Players, 
and Playhouses of the United Kingdom 
and America, from the Earliest Tiints to 
the Present. Vol. I. (A to G). Demy Svo, 
cloth los. dd. net. Vol. II., completing 
the Work, is in preparation. 

ALLEN cQRANT), Books by. 

Crown 8vo cloth, js. (></. each ; post bvo, 

illustrated boards, 2.?. each. 
Babylon. With la Illustration* 
Strange Stories. 
The Beckoning Hand. 
For Maimie's Sake. 
Phllistla. I In all Shades. 
The Devil's Die. | Tents of Shorn. 
This Mortal Coil. 
Dumaresq's Daughter. 
Under Sealed Orders. 
The Duchess of Powysland. 
Blood Royal, i The Great Taboo. 
Ivan Oreefs Masterpiece. 
The Scallywag. With 24 Illustrations. 

At Market Value. 

The Tents of Shem. POPULAR 
EDITION, medium Svo. ftd. 

ANDERSON (MARY).-Othello's 

Occupation. Crown .Svo. cloth. ?s. 6rf. 

ANTROBUS (C. L.), Novels by. 

Crown Svo, clolh, 3.1. (xJ. each. 
Quality Corner. | Wildersmoor 
The Wine of Flnvarra. 
The Stone Ezel. down Svo. cloth. 6s 

ALEXANDER(Mrs.), Novels by. 

Crown Svo. cloth .u. M. each; post BVO 
picture boards. 2,v. e:irh. 

Valerie's Fate. I Mona's Choice. 

A Life Interest. I Woman's Wit. 

Blind Fate. 

Crown Svo, cloth, 3*. f>,i, each. 
The Cost of her Pride. 
A Golden Autumn. 
Barbara, Lady's Maid & Peeress 
Mrs. Crtchton's Creditor. 
A Missing Hero. 
A Fight with Fate. 
The Step-mother. 

ALMAZ (E. F.). -Copper under 

the Gold. Crown Svo, cloth, 35. bd. 



APPLETON i(i.VV..- Rash Con- 

ARNOLD (E. L.), Stories by. 
The Wonderful Adventure! of 
Phra the Phoenician. Crown 8v<>. 
cloth, with i: lllusls. bv H. M. 
-*s (i ! 

The Constable o St. Nicholas. 
With a Kronti.,pien- 


(The). Large crown Svo. Eaci. 
wit!i 8 Coloured Plates, and 24 in Half- 
tone. Bound in cloth, 71. 6d. net 
Knmox !>;: Li'Xi . . I :ited on 

pure rag paper, with additional I'Ute-. 
parchment. 15.?. ntt per - 

Stories of the Italian Artists 
fromYasarl. Collected and : 
by E. 1-. SKKLKY. ith 13 

Coloured Plarts and 24 ; 

Artists of the Italian Renais- 
sance : their St" 

Vasari.Rldoln,Lanz!,aud the Chronicler*. 
Collected a ndarrai 

Stories of the Flemish and Dutch 
Artists, irom the lime of the Van 
Kycks to the End i-f t). 
Century, drawn from Conten 
Records. Collected and arra:-: 

Stories of the English Artists, 
from Van Dyck to Tun; 
Collected and arrnnsed 
DAVII saini Ox n. Hrsr. 

Stories of the French Artists, 

trom Cloue! t 

|ed hy P. M. d C. H. 

Stories of the Spanish Artists 

iml'.l GOY.. By Sir WlLi 

MAXWfcl.L. Selects! and arranged by 

Luis CARRF.SO. \Vith Introduction by 


Stories of the German Artists. 

By Prof. Mr 
The Little Flower of S.Francis of 

Assist. Transl.'. 

ARNOLD. With 8 Illustration* In Colow 

and 24 in Half-tone. 


Of the Imitation of Christ, by 

THOMAS A KKMPIS, as t-ansated out of 
the Latin by RICHARD WHYTFORD (A.D. 
J 55^) : re-edited into modern English 
\v th an Historical Introduction by 
WILFRID RAYNAI, O S.B. With 8 Repro- 
ductions in four Colours, and decorations 
in line, after \\atercoiours by W. 
has four additional Plates in Colour and 
niav also be had bound in pigskin with 
clasp<. 2>s. net. 

The Confessions of Saint Augus- 
tine. Iran latcd by Dr. E. H. PUSEV. 
Edited by Ti-MPLE SCOTT. With an In- 
troduction by Mrs. MEYXEI.L, and 12 
Plates by MAXWELL ARVJFIJELD m four 
Colours." T e EDITION DE LUXE has the 
plates mounted, and niav also be h;id 
bound in pijjkin with clasps, 25.*- net. 

Large crown 8vo, cloth, 7s. 6d. net each ; 
parchment, ios.6d net each. 

Women of Florence. By Prof. Isi- 
; >ORO DEL LUNGO. 1 ranslated by MARY 
<i. STEEGMAN.V. With Introduction by 
LJr. GUI DO BIAGI, 2 Coloured Plates and 
24 in Half-tone. 

The Master of Came: The Oldest 
English 4uokon Hunting. By EDWARD, 
Second Duke of York. Edited by W. A. 
and K. BAILL1E-GROHMAX. Introduction 
Frontispiece and23full-pagel. lustrations. 


Crown 8vo, cloth, with Portrait, 3s. 6d. ; 
post Svo, illustrated boards, 2?. 

ARTIST (The Mind of the): 

Thoughts and Sayings of Art sts on tneir 
Art. Collected and arranged by Mrs. 
LAURENCE BINYOX. With 8 full-page 
Plates. Small crown Svo 

ASHTON (JOHN). Social Life 

in the Reign of Queen Anne. With 

8; flu-it ns. Cr.m r, Svo. ci. .th, ?s.f>d. 

AUSTEN tJANEi, The Works of, 

in Ten Volumes, each containing Ten 
Illustration'; in Colour by A. WALLIS 
MII.LS. With Notes by 'R. BRIMLEY 
JOHNSON. Post Svo, cloth, 3$. 6rf. net per 
vol. The Novrls are as follows : Land 


Truth about a Nunnery : FweYeirs 

in a P .ns Convent School. Crown Svo, 
cloth, G. 

AYSCOUQH (JOHN), Novels by. 

Cr<>wn Svo, c oth, 6s. each. 
Outsiders and In. 
Hurdoott. I Faustula. 

MarQtZ, Crown &vn, cloth, aj, net. 


i6mo, cl.. 2*. net each : leather, 3^. net ca. 
The Pocket R. L. S. 
The Pocket George Borrow. 
The Pocket Thackeray. 
The Pocket Charles Dickens. 
The Pocket Richard Jefferies: 
The Pocket George MacDonald. 
The Pocket Emerson. 
Trie Pocket Thomas Hardy. 
The Pocket George Eliot. 
The Pocket Charles Kingsley. 
The Pocket Ruskin. 
The Pocket Lord Beaconsfield. 
The Flowerjof the Mind. 

BACTERIA, Yeast Fungi, and 

Allied Species, A Synopsis of. By 

W. B. GROVE, H.A. With 87 Illustrations. 
Crown Svo. cloth. 31. 6d. 

B AILDON (H. B.)- Robert 

Louis Stevenson: A Study. With 2 
Portraits. Crown Svo, buckram, 6s. 


selected from PERCY'S 'Rcliques.' Edited 

with an In-roduction by F. SIDGWICK. 

With 10 Plates in Colour after BYAM 

SHAW. R.I. Large fcap.4to, cloth, 6.5. net. 

Legendary Ballads, se ected from 

PERCY'S Relique.s. Eriittd with, an 

Introduction by F. SIDGWICK. With 10 

Plates in Colour after BYAM SHAW, R.I. 

Large fcap. 4to, cloth, 6i. net. 

* The above 2 volumes may also be had in 

the ST. MARTIN'S LIBRARY, pott Svo, cloth, gilt 

top, each: leather, gilt edges, each. 

BARDSLEY (Rev. C. W.). 

English Surnames : Their Sources 

and Mgniftcati'-ns. Cr. 8vo, cloth. 7$. 6d. 



9 Illustra ions and Tabular Charts. 
Demy Svo, cloth, 7i.6d. net. 

BARING-GOULD (S.), Novels by. 

Crown Svo, cloth, $s. 6d. each ; post Svo, 
illustrated boards, 2s. each ; POPULAR 
EDITION'S, medium Svo. fid. each. 
Red Spider. I Bve. 

BARKER (ELSA). The Son of 

Mary Bethel. Crown Rvo, cloth, (is. 

BARR AMELIA E.). Love will 

Ven - ure in. Crown Svo. cloth, 3$. 6d. ; 
CHKAP EDITION, cloth, it. net. 

BARR (ROBERT), Stories by. 

Crown Svo. cl"th, 3s 6rf. each. 
In a Steamer Chair. With 2 Illusts. 
From Whose Bourne, &c. With 47 

Illustrations by HAL HURST and others. 
Revenge! With 12 Illustrations by 

LANCELOT SPEED and others. 
A Woman Intervenes. 
A Prince of Good Fellows. With 

15 I lus'rat'on* in- E. I. SULLIVAN'. 
The Unchanging East. 
The Speculations or John Steele. 

Crown Svo, cloth, zs 6d. ; POPULAR 

Fnniox, medium Svo, 6tf. 

I. AXE, ! , \V.C. 

BARRETT (FRANKS, Novels by. 

.o, iiu^t. bda 

The Sin of Olga Zassoulich. 
Little Lady Linton. 
John Ford; MM His Helpmate. 
A Recoiling Vengeance. 
Honest Davie. ' Lieut. Barnabas. 

>'r. Svn, cli il.uii 

ti : cl'ilh limp. .(. t!..'. I:K|I. 
Found Guilty. 
For Love and Honour. 
Between Life and Death. 
Fettered for Lite. 
A Missing Witness. With s nims. 
The Woman of the Iron Bracelets. 
The Harding Scandal. 
A Prodigal's Progress. 
Folly Morrison. 

Crov r.ich. 

Under a Strange Mask. \Vith i< 

frustrations by K. K. I;KK\\ TNAI.L. 
Was She Justified? 
Lady Judas. 
The Obliging Husband. With Ccl 

'urcrit Ki>.:ii. 

Perfidious Lydia. With Kr ntispiivi 

bv Urni.KY l'i':\v x\r. 
Fettered for Life. nix 

The Error of Her Ways. CK-AVM Svo. 

cloth. J. r;,:. : C'HKU' Kin . 


Novels by. 

lM 1 C H A t L !, 

The Knight of the Golden Sword. 

Clown hvo, ciivh. hs. 

The Lady of Tripoli. With Illus- 
trations. Crown Sm. buckram i<ilt, 55. 


Memoir.' By RAI I'll Sru.\rs and U. K 
IJKXT. With !.; I'latcj.^u quarto 
tnicki u 

HATH (The) in Diseases of the 
Skin. 1 '}' J U MILTOX. l\:< 


P. O'Co\N-oK. M.I', c roy 

HI-ARD JOHN , D.Sc. - The 
Enzyme Treatment of Cancer. 
With I lu-K Ucmv sv,., i:'., Jt 

by. Crown M.J, ilo;!; 

Leonora. ' A Great Man. 
Teresa of Watiing Street. \Val 

Ilhistiati.ii- b'.- iiil.i.Ki r. 
Tales of the Five Towns. : Hugo. 
Sacred and Profane Love. 
The Gates of Wrath. 
The Ghost. The City of Pleasure. 
The Grand Babylon Hotel. 
Sacred and Profane Love. (HIM 

F.milON. crown Nvo, i . i:t:. , i 

lilMTlox, mt'iliuni Svo. 6d. 
Leonora. I'IH-I-LAK EDITION, croVrn Rvo, 

cloth J.. ii^t. 

Poi'ULA '.. c-acli. 

Tha Grand Babylon Hotal. 
The City of Pleasure. , Hugo. 

BENNETT (W. C.). Song.- 

.Sailor*. : 

\\ I and RICH. Novel. 

Ready-Money Mortiboy. 

The Golden Butterfly. 

My Little Girl. 

With Harp and Crown. 

This Son of Vulcan. 

The Monks of Theiema. 

By Celia's Arbour. 

The Chaplain of the Fleet 

The Seamy Side. 

The Case of Mr. Lucraft. 

'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay. 

The Ten Years' Tenant. 

BESANT (5ir WALTi'.R), 
Novels by- 

cath . 

each : clotli r.nin, 
All Sorts and Condition* of Men. 

\\Vh i: !H:^!:.ri.'ns by I- : 
The Captains' Room. 
All in a Garden Fair. Wit: 

Dorothy Forster. 

Uncle Jack. 

Children of Glbeon. 

The World Went Very Well Then. 

Herr Paulus. 

The Bell of St. Paul's. 

For Faith and Freedom. 

To Call Her Mint 

The Holy Rose, .v 

Armorel of Lyonesse. With 

St. Katherine's by the Tower. 


Verbena Camellia Stephanotls. 
The Ivory Gate. 
Tha Rebel Queen. 
Beyond the Dreams of Avarice. 


In Deacon's Ordn 
The Revolt of Man. 
The Master Craftsman. 
The City of R- 

A Fountain Sealed. 
The Channeling. 
The Fourth Generation. 
The Oranga Girl. Wiu. 

The Alabaster Box. 
The Lady of Lynn, v 

No Other W 

St. Katherine s by the Tower. 
Tha Rebel Queen. 

i:\K r i 

London. , Westminster. 

K. U 

Sir Richard Whittlngton. 

Gaspard de Colignv- 

All Sorts and Condition! of Men 


BBS ANT (Sir Walter; continued. 
t HEAP EDITION'S, cr. 8v.>, cloth, is. net each. 
'the Alabaster Box. 
Verbena Camellia Stephanotls. 
The ttebejl Queen. 
POPULAR icon ION'S, medium 3vo, (ni. each 
All Sorts and Conditions of Men. 
a'he Golden tmtterfly. 
Keady-Money Mortiboy. 
By Celia's Arbour. 
The Chaplain of the Fleet. 
The Monks of Thalema. 
'3'ho Crang Ctrl. 
For Faith and Freedom. 
Children of Gibeon. 
i'orothyForster. | No Other Way. 
Armorel of JLyonesse. 
The Lady of Lynn. 

Demy hvo, cloth. 5.\-riTet each. 
Jjondon. With 125 Illustrations. 
Westminster. With Etching by F. S 

\\AI.KKK, and 1.30 Illustrations. 
South London. Wit!-, Etching by F. S. 

WALKER, and 118 Illustrations. 
East London. With Etching by F. S. 

YVALKKic. :;ud 56 Illustrations by Pmt 


Crov.n Svo. c':oth, 39. t>d. each. 
Fifty Years Ago. \Vith 144 Illusts. 
The Charm, and other Drawing-room 
flays. 50 Illns. by CHRIS HAMMOND, c. 

St. Katharine's by the Tower. 

CHKAP KnuiG.v picture cover, is. net. 
The Eulogy of Richard Jefferies. 

With Portrait. Crown Svo, buckram. Os. 
Art of Fiction. Fcap. Svo, cloth, 


Tiie Original Text, \viih, where neces- 
s-ary, Xotes. Small 8vo, single parts, 8d. 
iii-t ;'i r vol.; c'oth, single parts, is. net per 
\ i'!. Where two or more units are bound 
in one volume' the price in wrapper re- 
mains 8d. per unit, i.e.. t\vo cost is. e,d. ; 
three cost 2.v. : four cost 2s. Sd. In cloth 
the additional cost is jd. for the first, and 
a ,i. lor each succeeding unit : i.e., one 
uuit costs it. : two cost u. od. ; three 
2f. (rl : four 3?. Tif. 

1. Moliere: I.e Misanthrope. 

2. Moltere : Kemmes savantes. 

:?. Corneille: Le Cid. [thode. 

4. Descartes: Discours de la ine- 
5-0. Dante : Divina Commedia 1. : 

7. Boccaccio: Decameron: Prima 


8. Calderon : La vida es sueno. 

I. Restif de la Bretonne: L'an 


10. Canioes : Os Lusiadas : Canto I., II 

11. Racine: Ainalie. 

;j-i5. Petraroa : Kerum vulgarium 
fvajimenta. [Purgatorlo, ! 

r'i-17. Dante: Divina Commedia II. :j 

i.4-20. Tillier : Mon oncle Benjamin. 
:. Boccaccio: Decameron : Ssconda 

ai-34. Beaujnai'chai*: Le Barbier de 


25. Canioes: OsLusiadai : III., IV 
26-28. Alfred de Musaet : 


2<i. Corneille: Horace. 
30-31. Dante: Divina Commedia II!.: 


32-34. Prevost: Manon Lescaut. 
:,:,-3<i. OEuvres de Francois Villon. 
37-39- Guillem de Castro: Las MLCC' 

dadesdelCid, 1., II. 
40. Dante: La Vita Xuova. 
4I--14. Cervantes: 5 Xovelas ejemplares. 
45. Canioes: OsLusfadas:V.Vl.,YiI. 
40. Moli^re: L'Avare. 
47. Petrarca: I Trionfi. [giornala 
48-49. Boccaccio : Decameron: Teiva 

50. Corneille: Cinna. 
51-53 Canioes : Os Lusiadas : VIII., IX., X. 
53-54 La Chanson de Roland. 

Alfred de Musset : Premieres 

59. Boccaccio: Decameron: Ouaila 

60-61. Maistre Pierre Pathelin : 

Farce du XV e siecle. 
<i2-63. Giacomo Leopardl : Canli. 
64-65. Chateaubriand: Ataia. 

(MJ. Boccaccio : Decameron, ^>uinta 

67-70. Blaise Pascal: Les Provincialts, 


Midst of Life. Ciown Svo, cloth, 3$. Ld. : 
I/. Svo. bds., 2s. : cr. 8vo. pic. cov. u. net. 

BINDLOSS (HAROLD), Novels by. 

Crown Svo. cloth. 35. 6d. each. 
The Mistress of Bonaventure. 
Daventry's Daughter. 

A Sower of Wheat. 

Ainslie'a Ju-ju. Crown Svo, cloth, 

35. tul. ; picture cloth, flat back. 2.5. 
The Concession -hunters. Crown 
' Kvo. cloth, 35. fid. ; POI-CLAR EDIIIOX, 

medium Svo. t>d. 


Study by A. C. SWINBURNE. With :i 
Portrait.' Crown Svo, buckram, 6s. net. 
The Marriage of Heaven and 
Hell, and A Song of Liberty. With 

Introd"Ction by F. G. STOKES. A FLOR- 
KSCK PRESS BOOK. Crown Svo, hand- 
made paper, boards, 35. dd. net ; parch- 
ment, =;.'. net. 

BOCCACCIO. The Decameron. 

With a Portrait. Pott Svo, cloth. y.M 
top. 2s. not : leather, cilt edees. is. net. 

BODKIN (McD., K.C.) Shil- 
lelagh and Shamrock. Crov.n 

Svo, doth. ;, - 


Parting of the Ways. Translated by 
LOUISE -. HOI'<;HTOV. Cr. Svo. ri., fie. 


Painters of Vlcenza, With 15 full. 

pa^c i'wus. Deu)yfivo.,cloth,7i,6,.'. net. 






Wiih Illustr.vJons. Demy 8vo. cioth, 

7*. 6rf. net . 

B O S W E L L'S A U T O B I O - 
GRAPhY. r.v I" i'> . l-ii 

BOURdET (PAUL). -A Living 

Lie. Translated by JulIN DK VII.I.IKKS. 
Crown Svo, cloth, 3.1. 

i i>X. picture cover, 1 1. net. 

BOYLE"cF.).-Chronlcles of No- 
Man'.s Land. Post 8vo, illustrated 

boards. 2c. 

BRAND (JOHN). Observations 

on Popular Antiquities. With the 

Addition-, IP: NI MKXUY 

. __ 


Slum Silhouettes: Sloriesoi I 
I.ffe. Crown Svo, ciotl<. 3.5. 6J. 

BREWER'S (Rev. Dr.) Diction- 

aries. Crown Svo. cloth, is. (><i. net each. 
TheReader'sHandbook of Famous 

Names in Fiction, Allusions, 

References, Proverbs, Plots, 

Stories, and Poems. 
A Dictionary of Miracles : Imitative, 

Realistic, ana Dogmatic. 


Works by. Post 8vo, cloth, us. f>d. each. 
More Worlds than One: Creed of 

Philosopher, Hope o! Christian. Plates. 
The Marty .s of Science: GALILEO. 

Letters on Natural Magic. With 


and Novels bv. 

The Complete 'Poetical Works of 
Robert Buchanan. 

>VV.P, buckram w:tl. '. .tupicce 

to each volume. 121. 

Crown ! . <*'. each ; post Svo, 

The Shadow of the Sword. 

A Child of Nature. 

God and the Man. With 11 Iliustra- 

; I'.\HNAI<1>. 

Lady Kilpatrlck. 

The Martyrdom of Madeline. 

Love Me for Ever. 

Annan Water. I Foxglove Manor. 

The New Abelard. Rachel Dene. 


The Master of the Mine. 

The Heir of Llnne. 

Woman and the Man. 

Crown Svo, cioth. 31. 6d. each. 
Red and White Heather. 

Piii'Ci A -Medium Rvo. 
The Shadow of the Sword. 
God and the Man. 
Foxglove Manor. 

The Shadow of the Sword. LARGK 

Tvi'K. KINK I'AI-ER F.i>nio\. 1' 

cloth, gilt top, 2s. net ; leather, gilt edges, 

31. net. 

The Charlatan. By HUBERT R< 

and IlKNKY Ml'KRAY. Ci 

with I by T. H. 1<' 

3.t. 6</ -K at. 

numerous Illustrations. 



the 1'OKTi.A.VD CLCB CODK. By K't.-.h K , 
HAMMOV.I. Fcap. Svoc 

BRIDGE (J.S C.). From Island 

to Empire: \ History of thcExpansion of 

Kncland hv Force of Ann 1 ;. With Mat s 
and Plans. Larjje 

BROWNlNQ'S t ROBT ) POEA1S.;e fcap. 4(0. cloth. <. net each : 1 

PAPER EDITION, parchment, i? 

each. Also anKdition in the ST.MARTIN'S 

LIBRARY, post Svo, cloth, 2.1. net each ; 

leather, is. net each. 
Plppa Passes; and Men and 

Women. \v-.:!i 10 Plates in 

alter i; FoKTRScrK I'.KICKDM.K. 
Dramatis Personaa; and Dramatic | ^ A |\j <; E K . 

Romances and Lyrics. \\ >!i i 

I in Colour :if>< r K. K. BRICKnAU 


Anatomy of Melancholy. With a 

Photogravure Frontispiece. Demy Hvu, 


CA1NE (HALL), Novels by. 

: . post 8vo, 
th limp. 

The Shadow of a Crime. 

A Son of Hagar. | The Deemster. 

three novels, 
i AI; : 

h . and the KlNh i 
oi The Deemster, i 

Cruise of the ' Illack Prince ' 

1,-jUi,,. i>Jt8VO, 


BRYDF.N (H. A.)--An Exiled 

Scot. With Frontispiece K- }. ^ 
CROM PTOX. R.I. Crown 8vo, cl< 

5am at Home. With 91 Illiwts. Post 
S.o, illust. boards. 2*. ; cloth limp, 

im \ME 


CAN/I AM 'i:SiELLA).-Cos- 
tume*, Tradition*, and Sonp* of 
Savey. With 50 ; 

and many in Line, bv the Author. Demy 
B, 3U. ti. net. 



Choice of Books. Post 8vo, cloth, is.dd. 

CARROLL (LEWIS), Books by. 
Alice In 'Wonderland. With i 

Coloured and aiany Line Illustrations bj 


cloth gilt, 3s. 6d. net. 
Feeding the Mind. With a Preface 

by W. H. DRAPER. Post Svo, boards 

is. net ; leader, 2?. net. 


ventures of Jones. With 17 lllusts 
Fcap. Svo. picture cover, is. ; cloth, is 6ii 


Men and Things of My Time- 

Transit- d by A. TEIXEIRA DK MATTOS 
With 13 Portraits. Dc-mv Svo, cl., 6s. net. 


Vol. I.. Plays Complete, including the 
Doubtful Ones. Vol. II., Poems and 
Minor Translations, with Essay by A. C 
SWINBURNE Vol. III., Translations oi 
the Iliad and Odyssey. Three Vols. 
crown Svo. cloth, ?*. 6d. each. 

Fame's Pathway. Cr. Svo.. cloth, 6* 

CHAUCER for Children: A Gol- 
den Key. By Mrs. H. K. HAWEIS. With 
8 Coli-un-d Plates and 30 Woodcuts. 
Crown 410. clolh, 3^. 6d. 

Chaucer for Schools. With the Story 
ot his TiivK-s and his Work. Ry Mrs. 
H. R. HAWEIS. Demy Svo, cloth' zs. dd. 

The Prologue to the Canterbury 
Tales. Printed in blacK-letter i.pon 
hand-made paper. With Illustrations by 
AMBROSE DUDLEY. Fcap. 410, decorated 
cloih, red top. 2.?. (>:!. net. 
* : ' See also THE KING'S CLASSICS, p. 16. 


Novels by. Cr. Svo, cloth, 3 >. t,l. each. 
The Cable-man. 
The Romance of a Quean. 
The Claimant. 

CHESS, The Laws and Practice 

of; with an Analysis of the Openings. 
I?. B. WoRMAt.D. Crown Svo, cloth, 5$.' 

The Minor Tactics of Chess : A 

Treatise on the Deployment of the 
Forces in obedience to Strategic Principle. 
By F. K. YOUNG and E. C. HOWELL. 
Long fcap Svo. cloth, 2s. 6(1. 
The Hastings Chess Tournament. 
The Authorised Account or the 230 Games 
played Aug. -Sept., 1895. With Annota- 
TINSLEY, MASON, and AI.BIN ; Biographi- 
cal Sketches, and 22 Portraits, Edited by 

H. F. CHESHIRE. Crowu Svo, cloth, 5^. 


With Illustrat ons in Colour by JESSIE 
\VILLCOX SMITH, ^,rown 4:0, pictorial 
cioth, 35. 6d. net. v 

CLARE (AUSTIN). By the Rise 

of the River. Crown Svo. cloth. 3.5. (id. 


for Children by. 
Camping in the Forest. With 12 

Coloured lllusts., and many in Line, by 

the Author. Fcap 410, cloth, 3s. f>d. net. 
Amabel and Crispin. With many 

I lustrations. Demv Svo cloth. 3.5. td. net. 

CLIVE (Mrs. ARCHER), Novels 

by. Post Svo, cl. 35. bd. ea; bds, 2s. ea. 
Paul Ferroll. 
Why Paul Ferroll Killed his Wife. 


and Dreams. Crown Svo, cloth,*-}*. 6rf. 

Jonathan Swift. Or. Svo, cl.. 33. ft. 


FRANCES), Novels by. Cr.Svo. cl., 

3.t. 6ii each: post Svo, iilu^td. bds.. z.v. each, 

From Midnight to Midnight. 
You Play me False. 
Blacksmith and Scholar. 
Ihe Village Comedy. | Frances 

Post Svo. illustrated boards, 2s. each. 
A Ftght with Fortune. 
Sweet Anne Page. 
Sweet and T wenty. 

COLLINS (WiLKfE), Novels by. 

Cr. Svo, cl., ^i. dd. each : post Svo, picture 
boards. 2s. each ; cl. limn. 2s. f>ti. each. 

Antonina. ' Basil I Hide and Seek 

The Woman in White. 

The Moonstone. | Man and Wife: 

The Dead Secret. I After Dark. 

The Queen of Hearts 

No Name My Miscellanies. 

Armadale. Poor Miss Finch. 

Miss or Mrs ? I The Black Robe. 

The New Magdalen 

Frozen Deep. : A Rogue's Life. 

The Law and the Lady. 

The Two Destinies. 

The Haunted Hotel. 

The Fallen Leaves. 

Jezebel's Daughter. 

Heart and Science. I "I Say No." 

The Evil Genius. ! Little Novels. 

The Legacy of Cain. I Blind Love. 

POPULAR EDITIONS, medium Svo. t^i. each. 

Antonina. I Poor Miss Finch. 

The Woman in "White. 

The Law and the Lady. 

Moonstone, i The New Magdalen. 

The Dead Secret. No Name. 

Man and Wife Armadale. 

The Haunted Hotel. I Blind Love. 

The Woman in White. LARGE TYPE, 
FINK PAPER EDITION. Pott Svo, cloth, 
gilt top. zs. net leather, gilt edges, 3s. net. 

The Frozen Deep. LARGE TYPE Emr. 
Fcap. 8.VO, cloth, is. net. 


COBBAN (J. M ACL ARE N), CROKER (Mrs. B. M.\ Novels 

Novels by. 

The Cure of Souls. Post Svo, illus- 
trated buarn 

The Hed Sultan. Crown Svo. cloth, 
3$. dd. ; post Kvo. illustrated boards, is. 

The Burden of Isabel. Crou 

cloth. y. 6,;. 


Inch a Soldier. Crown Svo, cloth. 
35. fid.; post Svo, illustrated !>oanls, ^s. 

COLT-BREAKING, Hints on. By 

W. M. HUTCHISON. Cr. svo, c 1 


Belted Seas. Crown s\ 


Incubus. Crown Svo, cloth. 6s. 

1906: Who pays, to whom, to 
what, and when it is applicable. 

liv A. CLKMENT KHYVAKI.S, M.I'. Crown 
Svo. is. net; cloth, is. dii. net. 

The Inimitable Mrs. Massing- 

ham svo. cloth, .u. o,.'. ; 1'oi'U- 

LAU EDITION', medium S\ 

Crown svo, cloth, 3.5. bd. each. 
The "Wilful Way. 
The Queen can do no Wrong. 
To Defeat the Ends of Justice. 

COOPER (E. H.), Novels by. 

Crown Svo, cloth. 55. (xi. each. 
Geoffory Hamilton. 
The Marquis and Pamela. 

C O R N W A L L. Popular 

Romances of the West of England : 

The Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions 
Id Cornwall. Collected by ROBERT 
HINT. F.R.S. With two Plates by 

The Prophet of the Great Smoky 

Mountains. Crown v. 

Hist sv , illustrated boards, 2t. 
His Vanished Star. Crown Svo, 

cloth. r. td 
The Windfall. Ciown 8vo, cloth 

y. dd. : CHKAP EDITION, cloth. 15. net. 

CRIM (MATT). Adventures of 

a Fair Rebel. Crown NY 
post Svo, illustrated hoards. 2*. 

by. ^ each : 

. each ; 

h limp. zj. M. each. 
Pretty Miss Neville. 
A Bird of Passage. . Mr. Jervis. 
Diana Harrington. 
Two Masters. I Interference. 
A Family Likeness. 
A Third Person. | Proper Pride. 
Village Tales & Jungle Tragedies. 
The Real Lady Hilda. 
Married or Single? 
'To Let.' 


In the Kingdom of Kerry. 
Miss Balinaine's Past. 
Jason. | Beyond the Pale. 

Terence. With t . 
The Cat's-paw. With 12 Illustr.f 
The Spanish Necklace. With s 
. i. Also. i Cl. 

vi-r. 1 1. net. 

-vo. cloth, .;.?. o</. each : p"- 
cloth !ini|>. - 

Infatuation. 1 Some One Else. 
r.irn.AK ! 

Proper Pride , The Cat's-paw. 
Diana Harrington. 
Pretty Miss Neville. 
A Bir" of Passage. 
Beyond the Pale. 
A Family Likeness. 
Miss Baimaine'a Past. C - 
Married or Single? 
The Real Lady Hilda. 
The Spanish Necklace. 


Maria's Dressing-table. A I 

Children to 1'aint in and to Kc.ul, with 


by. Cr.>u<i 

A Question of Means. 
Opportunity. \Vnli frontispiece by 

111! 1.* I',. \Vll-M.K. 

Up to Perrin's. 


the KlKsr Ironi I ; ; : the 

!i many 

hundred Wooden! :ates by 

!. Two 

tC. I : . (it)RDON , 

Works by < each. 

In the Hebrides. \v 
In the Himalayas and on the 

Indian Plains. With . 
Two Happy Years In Ceylon. 

Via Cornwall to Egypt. 

A Hand- 


DANBY (FRANK). A Coquette 

In Crape. Foolscap Svo, picture cover, 
dd. : cloth, is. net 


Evangelist; or, Port Salvation. 

Cr. Svo. cloth. 3s. 6d. : post Svo, bds.. 25. 


for Parents on Choice of Profession 
for their Sons. Grown Svo, is. fid. 

DAVIDSON (H. C.). Mr. Sad- 

ler's Daughters. Cr Svo. cloth, 33. bd. : 
CHEAP EDITION', cloth. is. net 


Works by. Cr. 8vo. is. ea.; cl.. is. bd. ca. 
One Thousand Medical Maxims 

and Surgical Hints. 
Nursery Hints: A Mother's Guide. 
The Dietetic Cure of Obesity 

(Foods for the Fat). With Chapters 

on the Treatment of Gout by Diet. 
Aids to Lolngl^lfercr. Svo. . ;! . 
"Wire and Health : How to enjoy 

both. Crown Svi >. cloth, is. bd. 


by. Crown Svo, cloth, 35. (id. each. 
The' Poet and the Pierrot. 
The Princess & the Kitchen-maid. 

DEFOE (DANIEL). Robinson 

Crusoe. With 37 lilusts. by GEORGK 
CRUIKSHANK. Pott Svo. cloth, gilt top. 
2.?. net : leather, gilt edges, $s. net. 

DE MI LLE (JAMES). AStrange 

Manuscript found in a Copper 

Cylinder. Crown 8vo, cloth, with KJ 

Illustrations by GILBERT GAUL, $s. t>d. : 

<vr>. illustrated boards. 2s. 


History of. By ARTHUR \V. CLAYDEX, 
M.A. With, 10$ W. net 

Devon: Its Moorlands, Streams, 
and Coasts. By Ladv ROSALIND 
XOKTHCOTK. Illustrated in Colours by 
F. I. WIIXIKRY. Fcap. 4(0. cl.. io;. net. 

Folk Rhymes of Devon: Notices of 
tre Metrical Sayings fmind in the I. "re 
of the People. By WILLIAM CROSSING. 
Demy Svo. cl :th. 41-. <W. nt-t. 

DEWAR (Q. A. B.).- The Airy 

Way. Crown Nvn. c'oth. ( ,. net. 

DEWAR (T. R.). A Ramble 

Round the Globe. With 220 Illustra- 
tions. Crown Svo, clntli. 


Speeches Of. With a Portrait. Pott 
Svo. cloin. 2s net : leather. 3s. net. 
The Pocket Charles Dickens: Pass- 
ages chosen by ALFRED H. HYATT. 

-loth. 2.c. net : leather, gilt 


A Dictionary of the Drama. Hy 
Ixmy Bvo, cloth, los. oj'. net. 

DICTIONARIES continued. 
The Reader's Handbook of 

Famous Names In Fiction, 

Allusions, References, Pro. 

verbs, Plots, Stories, and Poems. 

By Kcv. E. C. BREWER, LL.D. Crown 

Svo. cloth. 3.5. 6d. net. 
A Dictionary of Miracles, 

Imitative, Realistic, and Dogmatic. By 

Rev. E. C. BREWER, LL.D. Crown Svo, 

cloth, is. 6.L net. 
Familiar Allusions. Ey WILLIAM A. 

and CHARLES G. WHEELER. Demy Svo, 

cloth, 7.1. 6ii. net. 
Familiar Short Sayings of Great 

Men. With Historical and Explanatory 

Notes by SAMUEL A. BENT, A.M. Crown 

Svo, cloth, "s. 6d. 
The SlangDictlonary : Etymological, 

Historical, and Anecdotal. Crown Svo, 

cloth. 6s. fid. 
Words, Facts, and Phrases: A 

Dictionary of Curious, Quaint, and Out- 

of-the-Way Matters. J'y KUK/.ER 

EDWARDS. Crown Svo. cloth. 3 

DOBSON (AUSTIN), Works by. 

Crown Svo. buckram, 6s. each. 
Four Frenchwomen, With Portraits. 
Eighteenth Century Vignettes. 

In Three Series, each 6s. ; also HlXK- 

PAPER EDITIONS, pott 8vo, cloth, 2s. net 

each ; lo.-ither, 3.;. net each. 
A Paladin of Philanthropy, and 

other Papers. With 2 Illustrations. 
Sida-walk Studies. With 5 I! 
Old Kensington Palace, and other 

Paners. With 6 Illustrations. 
At Prior Park, and other Papers. With 
6 Illustrations. 

DONOVAN (DICK), Detective 

Stories by. Post Svo. illustrated 
boards. ?.s. each : cloth, 2s. 6d. each. 

In the Grip of the Law. 

Link by Link. Caught at Last. 

From Information Received. 

Suspicion Aroused. 

Riddles Read. 

Cr. Svo. cl., 3x. o<l. each ; picture cl., 2s. ea. ; 
post Svo. hoards, 2? ea : cloth. 2^. brf.ea. 

The Man from Manchester. 

The Myctery of Jamaica Terrace. 
Crown Svo. cloth 3.?. o,l. each. 

Deacon Brodle : or. Behind the Mas!-. 

Tyler Tatlock, Private Detective. 

Cr. Svo, d., 3.5. (id. ea. : p-.ct. cl.. Hat bk. 21. ea. 
The Records of Vincent Trill. 

Tales of Terror. 

Crown Svo, cloth, 35. oii. each : post Svo, 
boards, 2s. eacn: cloth I'.rno, ?.>. tti. each. 
Chronicles of MichaalDanevitch. 
Tracked to Doom. 
Tracked and Taken. 
A Detective's Triumphs. 
Who Poisonad HettyJJuncan? 

Crown Svo. picture C'Oih, 2s. each : post Svo, 
illust. bds,, 2s. each: clth lirnp, ? 

Wanted! I Tha Man-Hunter. 

Dark Deeds. Crown vo, cloth limp, 
2s. dd. ; picture cloth, flat back, is. 


D1XON (W. WILLMOTT), Novels 

by. Crown 8\v>. <. each. 

The Kogue of Rye. | King Hal. 


Corcoran's Money. Cr. Svo. cl., jt. W . 

DOYLE (A. CON AN). The Firm 

of Girdle stone. Crown Svo. clo; . 

Edited by iJ.i. Cl'NXiXGHAM. Cr. KVCJ, 
cloth. \vi;h I'ortratts. .u. (\-j. per Vol. 

Ben Jonson's Works. With 

Critical and lixplanato: v. and a I'.io 
yraphical MciiK'i; hy WlU.IAM GlKFOHU. 
Three Vols 

Chapman's Works. Three Vois. Vol. 
1. contains the Plays complete ; \-<\. 11. 
IV.erns and Minor Translations, v.'itii an 
Kssay by A. C. SWINBUKXK; V..1. HI.. 
Translations of the Iliad and Odyssey 

Marlowe's Works. One Vol. 

Massinger's Plays, From GIKFORD s 
Text. One Vol. 

DUMPY BOOKS (The) for 

Children. 521110, cloth, is. nel 

1. The Flamp, The Ameliorator 
and The School-boy's Appren 
tice. By I.. V. !.: 

3. The Bad Family. Hy Mis 

4. The Story of Little Black 
Illustrated in colours. 

7. A Flower Book. Illustrated ii 
colours bv N'tl.LIE BK\ 

8. The Pink Knight. By J. R. Mox 

Illustraitcl >n c<.; 

9. The Little Clown. By T. COUP. 

10. AHorseBook. ByMARYTOORTKL 

Illuv.traied in colours. 

11. Little People: nn Alphabet. Hj 
HKXKV MAVKRandT. W. H. (_:, 
Illustrated in colours. 

12. A Dog Book. By ETHEL BICKXKU. 
\\ith Pictures in colours by CARTO 
>fooRE PARK. 

14 The Little Girl Lost. By T.KAPKR 

15. Dollies. By KHIIAKU HIMKK 
lllu-trated in colours by NCTH Ccl:i:. 

16. The Bad Mrs. Ginger. By HOKOK 
C. Afl'LEiiix. li'.ustrated in colour*. 

17 Peter Piper's Practical Prin- 
ciples. Illustrated in coloius. 
18. Little White Barbara. H 
i u<tn. Illustrated in 

20. Towlock* and his Wooden 
Horse. 1'y -\i H:K M. Ai 

I llns. in colours by HONOR C.APPI 

21. Three Little Foxea. By MAIM 
TOUKIEI.. Illustrated in colours. 

22. The Old Man's Bag. By 1 . \v 
11. CuosLAxn. )ilus. bv J. K. MOXSKLI. 

23. Three Little Gobllna. By M 
O. TAGGART. Illustrated in colours. 

25. More Dollies. By RICIIAK 

i hi;, lllu-i. in colours by KC'TM COBB 

DUMPY RQOKS-eentiuutd. 

is. ntt each. 
26. Little Yellow Wang-lo. By M. 

28. The Sooty Man. 
SO. Kosalina. II 

| K V \ 

31. Sammy and the Snarly wlnh. 

i\- A 

33. Irene's Christmas Part 


34. The Little Soldier Book 1 v 

35. The Dutch Doll's Ditties. By 
C. Al'H 

36. Ten Little Mlgger Boys. BY 

37. Hunipty Dumpty'i Little Son. 

38 Simple Simon. Bv H 

C'Ki i 

39 The Little Frenchman. By 

K. |. KKli : 

40. The Story of an Irish Potato. 

I'.v l : i 


Books by. 
A Social Departure. With in 

Illustrations by K. U 'i.>\v\sfcxi>. 
An American Girl in London. 

The Simple Adventures of a 

Memsahib. \V.iti M liiusti.i. 

Vernon's Aunt. With 47 Illustration* 


and India: Progress during one 


Novels by. 
A Point of Honour. Post 8v... 


Archie Lovell. down 
A Plaster Saint. > 


Words, Facts, and Phrases: 

tioii.u-, Nit-of-the- 

\Vriv v 

H<i(iL:.STO\ i IAVAKD . 

Kox\ . 

li(ii:RTON Rev. J. 

Sussex Folk and Sussex Wav.. 


Book of. Edited witli N .Us by \Vn- 

-p c.-cc and Vignette. Small cr. Svo, 
clot . ?t. '\l. net : vcl'mii gill, 71. (MJ. net. 

(An) in Pat 

({tcullcctions of Louis Philippe and th 
j-,vn Svo, buckram, 31. firi. 




Virorum (:5i5-i5'7). Latin Text, 
with Translate n, Notts, &c., by I', (j. 
STOKES. Roy.i! 3vr>. buckram, 25^-. net. 

EVERYMAN: A Morality. 

With 11 ustiations bv AMBROSE DUDLEY. 
Printed on pure rag paper. Fcap. 410, 
decorated cloth, red top, 2,<-. 6..'. net. 

EYES, Our: How to Preserve. By 

JOHN BROWMVO. Crown Svo, cloth, is. 




T<>\-. Square 161110, cloth is. 


cellaneous Information, including Cele- 
brated Statues, Paintings, Palaces, 
Country Seats, Ruins. Churches, Ships, 
Streets, Clubs, Natural Curiosities, &c, 
By W. A. and C. G WllEELKR. Demy 
cloth 75. fid. net. 


of Great Men. By S. A. BE XT. A.M. 

Crown Svo, cloth, 7.5. 6d. 


by. Post 8vo. cloth, 45. M. each. 
The Chemical History of a 

Candle: Lectures dei vered beiore :. 
liivrin.e Audience. Edited by WILLIAM 
CKDOKES K.C S. With numerous Iilu<ts. 
On the Various Forces of Nature, 
and their Relations to each 

Other, lidited by YYlLl.l.AM CKOOKES. 
FA .S. With Illustrations. 

FARRAR (F.W., D.D.). Ruskin 

as a Religious Teacher. Square 
. cloth, with Frontispiece, I.?, n t. 


Three Essays. Crown 8vo. cloth, is. fid. 

FILIPPI (ROSIN A). Inhaling : 

A Romance. Crown 8vo. cloth, 6s. 


Complete Art of ; or, The Pyrotechnist's 
Treasury. By THOMAS KEXTISH. With 
267 Illustrations. Cr. Svo, cloth, 3$.'6rf. 


Land of Silent Feet. With a Krontis- 
pirce by G. D. ARMOUR. Crown Svo, 
cloth, 6s. 


Fatal Zero. Crown Svo, cloth, ? 
post Svo, illustrated boards, 2i. 

Post Svo, illustrated boards, 7s. each. 
Bella Donna. j Polly. 
The Lady of Brantome. 
Never Forgotten. 
The Second Mrs. Tillotson. 
Seventy-five Brooke Street. 

Demy Svo. cloth, 125. (id. net eru-h. 
Bos-well's Autobiography. Will) R 

Samuel Foote: a Biography. With a 

Photogravure Frontispiece. 


by. Crown Svo, cloth, 3*. f>d. each ; 

post Svo, illustrated boards, 2s. each. 
The New Mistress. 
"Witness to the Deed. 
The Tiger Lily. 
The White Virgin. 

Crown Svo cloth. 3.5. fid. each. 
A Woman Worth Winning. 
Cursed by a Fortune 
The Case of Ail sa Gray. 
Commodore Junk. 
Black Blood. | In Jeopardy. 
Double Cunning. 
A Fluttered Dovecote. 
King of the Castle. 
The Master of the Ceremonies. 
The Story of Antony Grace. 
The Man with a Shadow. 
One Maid's Mischief. 
The Bag of Diamonds, and Three 

Bits of Paste. 

Running Amok. | Black Shadows. 
The Cankerworm. 
So Like a Woman. 

A Crimson Crime. Crown Svo. cloth, 
?.?. dd. ; picture cloth, flat back, 25. ; 
POPULAR EDITION-, medium .--TO, td. 

Punning Amok. CHEAP EDIT., is. net. 

Popular Astronomy. Translated 
by }. ELLARD GORE. F.K.A.S. With Three 
Plates and 288 Illustrations. A Xtu- 
EPITIOX. Mediim Svo, cloth. io. 6</. 


(The i. Set in the beautiful FLORKNCK 
TYPE designed for Messrs CHATTO & 
Printed on hand-made paper, and taste- 
tul'v bound. 

The Romaunt of the Rose. With Coloured 
Collotype Illustrations by KKITH HKXIPVK- 
s.i\ Miid NORMAX WILKINSON. This vohnne 
is iiow out of print ; but see p.?4 for annchcr 
Ediii n set in Caslou Old-face Type, with the 
p;inie Illustrations. 

Vlrglnibus Puerlsque, *c. By R. L.STKVFN- 
SON. Witlil'.'IlluB ration* in Coloured Collo- 
t ype at'tor the Drawings of NOEMAH WII.K i s - 
SN. (Edition limited to 2S5 numbered 
copies.) Crown 4to, boards, -' lv. 6it. net ; 
limr vellum. i\ 3s. npt. 

The Fioretti or Little Flower* of 8. 
Francis. Translated by Prof. T. w.Ausor.D. 
M.A. \Y:rh :'!i I'!ustra:innj in (Joil:-- 
t lie the I.aureiitjan Library. (Edition 
limited to -I7."> numbered Coping.) rrinieil iu 
red and Mack. iJemy 4to, boards, 
limp vellum. 42s. net. 

Songs before Sunrise. By ALKKHXON 
4;;. !!iunhered copies.) Pr 
black. Crown 4to. hoards, -Ms. net ; limp 
vellum, .'>" 'set. 

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell : ami 
A Songot Liberty. Bv WILLIAM BLAKK. 
With InmidiiCtion hy F. G.STOKKS. SmnM 
iv(p\vn evo, boards, 3s. tid. net ; parchment 
Kilt, gilt i op.